Squad Girls’ Football aims to further break down barriers

Squad Girls

Squad Girls’ Football is a new programme designed to engage teenage girls in football following the success of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

Squad Girls’ Football aims to remove the barriers that prevent girls from feeling like they cannot play football. It offers girls aged 12–14 the opportunity to get involved in football in a non-competitive, friendly, and fun environment. The sessions are designed to give girls a voice and choice, allowing players to input into the session’s structure, ensuring their needs and preferences are catered for.

From Northumberland to Devon, the one-hour sessions will be available in 40 counties across the country with up to 20 participants per session. Squad Girls’ Football also presents an affordable way of playing football, with one session costing less than £3 to attend. Girls can book onto the programme via England Football’s Find Football at: find.englandfootball.com.

Louise Gear, Head of Development at The FA, said“England’s success in the Euros presents a real opportunity to change the experience of girls playing football forever. Our national team has done an incredible job in inspiring a generation of girls to want to play football – and programmes like Squad Girls’ Football are crucial for ensuring that desire turns into the opportunity to play. Squad Girls’ Football breaks down the barriers that make girls feel like they can’t play football, making the sport even more accessible to a new generation of female players.”

Sport England has invested £2 million into the new programme after research undertaken by the organisation shows that girls are less likely than boys to complete the suggested 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Barriers include 51% of girls saying they are less active because they are shy or self-conscious, while 46% say they lack confidence in their ability.

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, added: “The extraordinary success of the Lionesses’ at the Euros is sure to have inspired many girls to want to try football out for the first time – or to perhaps start playing again. We need to make sure that there are inclusive, affordable and local opportunities available for them to give it a go. That’s why Squad Girls’ Football is so exciting; it’s giving girls all over the country the chance to enjoy the fun, friendship and camaraderie that football brings, and ensure that they truly feel it’s a space for them too.”

Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, said: “We want to build on the success of the Lionesses and inspire a generation of girls to get involved in sport. The Squad Girlsprogramme will be a great way for teenage girls to get involved in football and I encourage them to take part in what promises to be a fun and friendly environment. The government is committed to increasing participation in sport and we’re investing £230 million to build or improve up to 8,000 grassroots football and multi-sport facilities across the UK by 2025.”

To find your nearest football session or Squad Girls’ Football programme, go to EnglandFootball.com.

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