Football training for kids has changed beyond recognition in the past decade. Not so long ago you’d be hard-pressed to spot a single girl on the pitch. Now more girls than ever are playing the Beautiful Game, they’re playing like demons, and the ladies version of the world’s best-loved sport is grabbing headlines at long last. So how come women’s football has become so popular, why are some of the biggest clubs investing in the sport, and what benefits can footie bring to young females?
Early adopters of women’s football – Arsenal ladies’ team
Some clubs have had women’s teams for ages. Take Arsenal, whose ladies team has been on the go since 1987, created by Vic Akers who managed the team for an impressive 22 years. Together they won 33 major trophies and revolutionised British women’s football. Their first trophy was the Premier League Cup, won back in 1992, and the rest is history. But until quite recently, women’s football teams were still quite unusual.
Ladies footie facts
The UK had several women’s clubs in the 1890s. One north London team attracted 10,000 supporters for a game at Crouch End
Preston was famed for women’s football in the early days, home to Dick Kerr’s Ladies, formed in 1894
In the late ’60s the FA banned women’s football from its grounds on the basis that the game was ‘quite unsuitable for females’
The Women’s FA was formed in 1969 and the first Women’s FA Cup Final and England Women’s international soon followed
In 1983 the FA invited the WFA to affiliate on the same basis as a County Association
In 1993 the Women’s Football Committee was formed, tasked with running women’s football in England
The FA revealed plans to develop women’s football to an elite level in 1997
In 1998 they appointed Hope Powell as Women’s National Coach
By 2002 football had become the top participation sport for women and girls in England
Fresh ways of thinking about women in sport
As the Sport England `This Girl Can’ campaign said recently, “Our research reveals a huge difference in the number of men and women playing sport. And it’s not because females don’t want to get active. Millions of women and girls are afraid to exercise because of fear of judgement… on appearance, ability or how they choose to spend time on themselves.”
Another survey carried out in 2015 by Women In Sport, called The Tipping Point found that: confidence and attitude in seven and eight-year-old girls revealed how Year 3 girls are more concerned with social acceptance than boys. And boys of that age often don’t think girls have the skills needed to play football. This has affected girls’ confidence for a very long time, giving people, in general, an inaccurate but ingrained cultural belief that gender is a barrier.
Fortunately, things are changing fast. We may even have reached a tipping point, a place where enough girls are playing football for it to become the norm rather than something unusual. Once it’s normalised, a thing becomes part of everyday life and that can only be good for footie-mad girls.
Why has women’s football become so popular?
Football is exhilarating. It’s thrilling, great for your health and your body, good for your brain, and a great way to stay fit. Girls are just as agile as boys, just as able to grasp the physical side of the game and become an expert in every aspect of it. Today’s new attitude to women in sport means more girls are feeling confident enough to want to play football.
Football is more about skill than power and strength, about tactics and strategies rather than brute force, and that makes it the perfect unisex sport. Old fashioned attitudes about what it means to be female have changed with the years. Now, thank goodness, it is a lot more acceptable for girls to get hot, sweaty, dirty, muddy, exhausted, and over-excited. It’s also acceptable for women to be just as competitive as men, and it’s really good to see the unhelpful word ‘ladylike’ steadily disappear from everyday use.
In short, today’s girls are more equal than ever before. They and their parents accept fewer traditional gender biases, and at long last the sporting world is becoming more fair and more fun.
Football coaching for kids – Including the girls!
Kids football is no longer only for boys. It’s a thrilling, exciting unisex game, and some extraordinarily good female players are starting to emerge. Maybe your little girl will become the next Ballon d’Or winner just like Ada Hegerberg.
Our unisex/girls football classes run on a regular basis in a number of locations across London and offer the perfect setting for your daughter, niece or grandchild to start playing the beautiful game.
Call us to book a free trial on 020 8360 8997