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Sixteen teams took part in the Essex County FA's recent Girls' Football Festival, organized via the Saffron Walden School Sports Partnership and the E.C.F.A.'s Development team.
Instead of the standard eleven players in each side, there were only around 38 in total as they were participating in the quickly-growing format of 3 v 3 soccer, with girls in Year Groups Five and Six from the Walden area having being involved in a program of taster sessions that took place within curriculum time delivered by E.C.F.A. Community Coach, Andy Edmunds.
An end of term 3 v 3 festival was set up to celebrate the success of the programme. The afternoon saw the sixteen teams split into four groups, each team getting to play four games. At the end of the festivities, each girl walked away with an FA Certificate and there were Goody Bags for the winners of each league.
The programme is linked with Walden Spirit F.C.'s School-to-Club Link F.A. initiative, which has seen twelve girls access weekly sessions at the Charter Standard Club. The sessions have been led by Beverley Clarkson, a Female F.A. Level Two Coach who recently started to complete her Level Three, and she is confident that eventually the new kids on the pitch will be ready for league football.
Beverley commented: "Some of the players were very keen to get involved. There were children of varying abilities but they all took something out of the games as they were able to concentrate on their skills more. The 3 v 3 matches run alongside our usual training sessions and it all depends on the numbers we have available. Sometimes we have matches of 5 v 5! Our club found the support from the Essex County F.A. really useful as it's difficult to build links between local clubs and schools on your own. It's a really good initiative."
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