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Women's Football News
Demand was extremely high for places at a girls 4v4 football festival on Sunday at Clacton Leisure Centre to encourage new teams to take part in a number of games for the very first time, with eleven sides booked on to participate in the over-subscribed 'round robin' festival at the Vista Road facility.
Many of the girls involved had never competed in a proper match before and this was the first time that they had the opportunity to don their club strip between 1pm and 4pm in conjunction with the Essex County Football Association. Despite the hall being unable to accommodate everyone, those lucky enough to be booked in enjoyed a wonderful occasion. Arguably the most exciting feature was the creation of brand new teams, with Rayne entering their recently formed side.
ECFA Girls and Women's Football Development Officer, Emma Burden, hopes this is a sign of things to come. She stated: "We were surprised at the number of teams that took part! We've just started working alongside Great Bradfords FC in Braintree in an effort to increase the number of girls' teams within one of our latest community clubs.
"After only four weeks I then had two Braintree clubs make contact who have girls already training with them so it's great to see the development of the younger age groups. Some of the players were experiencing their very first game and were excited to be a part of it. As the seasons move on, and by ensuring local football is accessible for all, standards will certainly improve."
Poor weather meant the girls were fortunate to be able to participate at all, with matches across the breadth of the County falling foul of the wet and windy conditions. However, this worked to the tournament's advantage as last-minute bookings boosted participant numbers and two teams each from Colchester Villa and Great Notley competed, as well as squads from Colchester Town, Little Oakley, Colchester United Player Development Centre, Rayne, Holland Park, Hawkwell Athletic and Frinton & Walton.
The plan is now to assist these fledgling teams in their development, with a view to smoothing their path towards the Under-10s North-East Division of the Essex County Girls League after Christmas, ensuring regional leagues for girls' football are sustainable in the long term.
Meanwhile, Great Notley recently applied for a £400 Football Foundation Junior Kit Grant for their new girls section and can look forward to kitting their youngsters out in a brand new strip having collected the voucher from Emma.
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