Laura Dutton/ British Soccer Mom

My son was always going to play football, whether he wanted to or not!….

Me and his Dad met at a Chester game and we travelled all over the country watching our team and he came with us for 9 months whist tucked up in my tummy! We subjected him to his first Chester match at 9 weeks old and passed a ball to his feet as soon as he could walk!

Playing the game was an almost certainty for him, but if we’d have had a daughter would this expectation have been on her head? Why is the ratio of club footballers in this country 12 men to 1 women? Is it nature – are boys simply programmed to want to kick a ball around whilst girls are programmed to cradle their dollies?

Personally, I think it’s more a case of nurture where society has always wanted our daughters to be pretty in pink. I’m sure that despite my Dad’s love of the game, my Mum simply wouldn’t have allowed him to put me in a pair of shin-pads and studs and throw me on to a muddy field with the boys!

This was certainly the mainstream attitude in the early 80’s where a footballing daughter meant a questioning of her femininity. Thankfully attitudes have changed and yes, it really is ok to allow your daughter to kick a football about – it doesn’t mean that she is going to grow a pair overnight!!

I see more girls playing in the junior leagues and it is taught on a unisex level in schools now. Our national ladies teams have done wonders for promoting the sport, as has the recent Olympics. Female referees can be found up and down the country officiating professional matches and according to the Women’s Sport & Fitness Foundation, football is now the most popular team sport for women, with 252,000 women playing the game every month.

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