12 February 2018
The London FA has identified training more female coaches as a top priority in its own women’s and girl’s strategy ©London FA
The London Football Association has launched a ground-breaking new girls football scheme, London Leopards, backed by significant investment from Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST).
As a key part of this initiative, the London FA is searching for 100 new female coaches to deliver its sessions.
Last year Women in Football joined forces with BetFair to launch 'Fairer Game', a national initiative that is supporting 50 young women take their UEFA B coaching badge.
Keeping in line with the national FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football, which aims to double participation by 2020, the London FA has revealed its new four-year project, which will be backed by £200,000 worth of funding in partnership with WNST.
The project aims to recruit and train 100 new female coaches through their Level 1 qualifications and provide them with the right opportunities and support required to deliver London Leopards sessions to 1,000 7-11-year-old girls.
The London FA has identified training more female coaches as a top priority in its own women’s and girl’s strategy – both to increase opportunities for women in this area of the sport, and to maximise the positive impact having female coaches or role models can have on a young girl’s development.
Lisa Pearce, CEO of the London FA, said: “The London FA is launching this new initiative as part of our wider drive to engage more women and girls in football across London and enrich their lives as a result.
"It’s no secret that there is a huge disparity in sport and physical activity levels between boys and girls. In London specifically, 88% of boys between the ages of 14 and 15 play football, compared with just 35% of girls. We hope that by introducing the sport to girls at a younger age in a fun and sociable way, delivered by female coaches, these gaps will start to close as they reach teenage years.”
Karen Hills, manager of Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, added her support. She said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the London Leopards project and believe it will be a catalyst in driving increased female participation in football across London.
"It’s important for young girls to have strong, successful female role models that they can look up to and be inspired by from a young age. The London Leopards project will initially give these girls a great accessible platform to play football and hopefully create a love of the game which will see them continue to participate and transition into clubs.”
Kelly Simmons, Participation and Development Director of the FA, commented: “Having set out our bold vision for the growth in women’s and girls’ football nationally, we’re excited to see the London FA leading the way on a regional basis. London Leopards provides a real opportunity to make a significant and sustained difference to participation levels in London.”
The London Leopards initiative will be delivered by seven Professional Club Community Trusts: AFC Wimbledon Foundation, Arsenal Women, Charlton Athletic Women’s, Chelsea Foundation, Leyton Orient Trust, Millwall Community Trust, QPR FC in the Community Trust and Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.
These partners will each deliver an eight-week introduction to football programme outside of school hours, as well as school roadshows. The clubs have also been tasked with identifying pathways after the initial eight-weeks, to offer girls the chance to transition into their grassroots clubs or other similar programmes. In year one of this project, 100 sessions will be delivered with a target 25% conversion rate into further playing opportunities.
Charlotte Edwards, Women and Girls Football Development Manager at QPR FC in the Community Trust, said: “This programme has the opportunity to inspire every girl to love the game, utilising strong role models and giving girls the opportunity to play and watch more football, which in turn will help to grow their confidence and skills through football.”
For more information about the London Leopards initiative and how to apply for the coaching courses, please visit: www.londonfa.com. Applications open Monday 12 February 2018.
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