Sporting 87 youth has a long standing tradition and policy of encouraging girls to play in our Saturday morning mixed teams, but this year the Club is set to play a key part in a new initiative in recreational girls footy in West Suffolk.
So why the need for something new?… We could at this point get involved in discussion of ‘gender neutrality’ and ‘sexism in the game’ but instead lets stay at the top level and accept that “This girl can.”, but “That girl won’t”, not when boys are around anyway. For a whole host of cultural and social reasons there are many girls (and parents/carers), and that’s the vast majority, who just want it to be a girl-only thing. We’re not judging this, but we think that’s an awful lot of girls missing out on footy with our current setup. But those in-tune with the situation may say that this provision already exists with the Suffolk Girls and Women’s League, which has been running for many seasons. Our difficulty has always been that this is a Sunday league and as a Saturday Club Sporting 87 has been unable to participate fully.
S87 U9 2014 4v4 team with England Ladies Grace McCatty
Recently together with other club partners, the WAYS League, Suffolk FA and Bury Schools Partnership, we have formulated a plan to organise regular girls-only footy in the form of the WAYS Girls League. The League principally builds upon the success of the regular primary school girls footy festivals that have been organised by the Bury Schools Partnership. This model of provision has been translated into an innovative Friday after-school programme of small-sided league matches that will run at a centralised venue – on the impressive 3G astro turf facility at Skyliner Sports Centre. “That’s not Saturday.” you may be thinking, but this has been a deliberate choice so not to discourage girls who also want to start/continue playing in the mixed team WAYS League. The competition will be open to Club, School and School-Club link teams.
Becca Bolton Suffolk FA Girls’ and Women’s Football Development Officer and Jodie Allard Mini Soccer and Youth Football Development Officer (and WAYS League Development Officer) will take the official leadership roles for the new competition.
Separate but coordinated with the new League will be the provision of the Suffolk FA ‘Wildcats’ programme, which will run alongside at Skyliner. These sessions will incorporate a fun and friendly environment for primary school age girls. The girls will be taking part in a safe learning environment as well as making friends and receiving goodies and incentives along the way. Sporting 87’s Cameron Brown, a Level 3 youth specialist coach, will be leading these sessions.
Sporting 87 Head of Girls, Lucy Miles, is looking forward to the challenge of not only building our girls-only Club teams and school-link teams, but has also been appointed as the WAYS Event Coordinator at Skyliner. Lucy will ensure smooth running of the games, supporting players, coaches and parents on the evenings. The Sporting 87 club teams and school link teams will be led by foundation and girls specialist coaches Katie Hopkins and Cerys Brown who both possess their Level 2: Youth Module 2 qualifications.
Now! – Sporting 87 Girls Team Training Sessions. Every Wednesday, 7pm. Indoors at Skyliner Sports Centre
Monday 2nd October – Bury Schools Partnership Primary School Girls Small-Sided Festival. Your school will provide details.
Friday 13th October – First League Fixtures and Wildcats Session.
How to get involved:
In this first season the WAYS League fixtures will cater for girls in school years 4 and 5 only. To join either one of our Sporting 87 Club Teams or one of our Sporting 87 School-Link Teams (currently: Sexton’s Manor, Howard, Risby, St Edmunds, St Edmundsbury) email Darren.Brown@Sporting87.co.uk. Wildcats will cater for girls in all primary school years (1 to 6). If you’re in school year 4 or 5 and are not sure whether team fixtures are for you at the moment, then why not join these fun sessions for a tryout. Email Cameron.Brown@Sporting87.co.uk.