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Mauritius Sports Ladies proved female football is alive and well in Essex' London Boroughs when they ventured into the girls game for the very first time as part of a brand new School-Club Link initiative in partnership with the Essex County Football Association at Douglas Eyre Sports Centre recently.
Targeting girls in School Years Four and Five, taster sessions were delivered in seven local schools who were handed information on after school sessions being delivered by their club coaches as well as ECFA Community Coach Lucy Faraday, who was there to support the first eight weeks of training. The club is now looking to mould the girls into a real team by attending 4v4 festivals for new teams as well as arranging friendlies with other new girls sides to smooth the transition into more organised football.
Numbers early on were very poor but, by the end of the first eight weeks, there were nine girls regularly training, with up to 12 accessing sessions at some point. Sharon Brownlie, ECFA Girls' & Women's Development Officer for Essex' five London Boroughs, reflected on another successful venture by saying: "Besides Leyton Orient Girls' Centre of Excellence, which is for elite players, there is very little grassroots football being offered to girls. Mauritius approached us and proved they were serious about developing girls football in the area and we were extremely pleased to work with them.
"Waltham Forest has been a particularly difficult area to develop new projects due to many different factors, so to get a group of girls together training regularly is a real achievement," explained Sharon, who also operates a regular Female Sevens League for newcomers to the game in the Hainault area. "Since working with Mauritius we've created much more interest in the area and we're now hoping to work alongside another club in the north of the Borough, which is extremely exciting for the future!"
For more information on local events and how you can get involved as an individual or as a team in the five London Boroughs, including 'Get Back Into' sessions, please contact Sharon on (01245) 393074 or e-mail email@example.com. For Outer Essex, contact Emma Burden on (01245) 393076 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details on female football can also be found on the Essex County Football Association's website at www.essexfa.com.
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