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Dunmow harvests two new girls teams
 Women's Football News 28 Apr 2008
Two brand new girls football teams have been born, thanks to the roaring success of the School-Club Link Programme which took place at Helena Romanes School's Astroturf facility between January and March of this year.
Dunmow Rhodes Girls are the lucky club who are able to take-on the pair of squads when a link-up with their local school resulted in an eight-week, Football Association-funded programme originated to support the jump that players have to make from playing school football to the club equivalent.
Working in partnership with the Essex County F.A., the sessions were delivered in seven local schools and were well attended, with over forty-four girls taking part in some capacity. Two players have since been directed to the Female Centre of Excellence and, as Dunmow Rhodes Secretary Alan Watts explains, there's also hoped to be sufficient interest to inaugurate a third squad.
"We have had enough interest that we're able to create two squads for sure and numbers certainly haven't been a problem," he explained. "We can now split training into a few more targeted groups and run teams at Under-12 and Under-14 levels. The girls have seen football is great fun and really enjoy getting involved."
The sessions were watched-over by the Essex County FA's Community Coach, Andy Edmunds, and Female F.A. Level Two Coach, Sharon Brownlie, and it is now envisaged that two female coaches will get their first experience of coaching teams.
Girls' & Women's Football Development Officer Emma Wake, who co-ordinated the programme, has her fingers crossed that this is the start of a fantastic future for girls football in Great Dunmow: "To get such a high number of girls turning out each week is great and demonstrates the need for girls clubs in the Uttlesford area. Dunmow Rhodes' commitment to get this programme up and going is a huge plus and we are looking forward to seeing the girls at our future FA Charter Standard festivals and skills days."
Alan also states more clubs and schools should look towards such a relationship, adding: "We're absolutely delighted and overwhelmed at how successful this link has been. It shows there is an untapped demand out there for female football and if only five girls had have turned up, we'd have been happy with that! But the Essex County F.A. bent over backwards to help us set this up and I'd thoroughly recommend the School-Club Link to anyone who has similar ambitions to ours."

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