Referee masterclass at FA Girls' Football Festival

FA Girls' Football Festival Set To Take Place At Peterlee Campus

Following a successful Girls’ Football Week engaging 16,000 in football, the FA Girls’ Football Festival programme will be heading to East Durham College‘s Peterlee Campus on October 14. The festival will be the final of 2015 and takes place just two weeks before The FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup Final and days before the conclusion of the Women’s Super League 2 season.

The festivals are a joint initiative by The FA and Continental Tyres, providing girls aged seven to 11 with an exciting, interactive football experience for both those new to the game and regular players. Of those that attended events in 2014, 85% said they were very, or quite likely, to start playing football.

The young players attending this event will have plenty of inspirational women to talk with, play alongside and learn from. Beth Hepple, a midfielder for Durham Women FC, who has recently been called up to train with the England U20 squad, will be visiting. This is particularly special as Beth won her first ever league trophy at the venue. Joining Beth is Sunderland AFC Ladies and Republic of Ireland striker Stephanie Roche who was named a finalist in the 2014 FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of the year, becoming the first female in history to make the finals. Also, Charlotte Lade-Rogers, one of the world’s leading professional football freestylers, who will be demonstrating her amazing football tricks and skills before showing the girls how to do the same.

Lindsey Robinson, Referee Development Officer at the Northumberland FA will be on hand too, promoting other ways for girls to be involved the game, she said: "Being local to the area, it's really great to see that an FA Girls' Football Festival is coming to Durham, encouraging girls from the county to get involved in the sport.

"It's a pleasure to be attending the event as a Referee Ambassador alongside Jenny Pullen, showing girls that even if playing football isn't their 'thing', that there are plenty of other paths to follow, such as refereeing.

"Our main aim of the day is to inspire girls to get involved in football in whatever way suits them. We want them to go away from the event excited about the sport and wanting to join clubs."

These events are a perfect example of The FA’s commitment to getting girls into football as part of their ‘We Can Play’ campaign. The campaign has a focus on getting young girls into the sport and breaking away from the existing stereotypes. The FA Girls’ Football Festivals are open to young girls from schools within Durham County and this particular event has been organised with the support of the Durham County FA and East Durham College.

John Topping, Company Secretary, Durham County FA said “We are delighted to welcome the FA Girls’ Football Festival to Durham County. We are keen to build on the interest in girls football across the County following this Summers Women’s World Cup, where England performed exceptionally well. We trust the schools and girls attending enjoy their day and will inspire many of them to participate in football following this festival.”

To add to the festival atmosphere on Wednesday, there will be giveaways, hair braiding, face painting and The FA WSL mascot Berry the Bear will be competing in a mascot dance off against Candy the Wildcat of Durham Women FC and H’Angus the Monkey from Hartlepool United FC.

Guy Frobisher, Marketing Director at Continental Tyres, added: “The FA Girls Football Festivals in association with Continental Tyres continue to grow year on year, giving tens of thousands of young girls from around the country the chance to get involved with the sport. At Continental Tyres we are extremely proud that 2015 is our 5th year partnering with the FA and is undoubtedly set to be the biggest and best so far. Who knows, perhaps in a few years’ time we may see a number of our festival attendees playing for their country!”