Girls’ football revolution is afoot in Chichester

Coaches get ready for the launch of the Chichester Female Football Development Centre

Coaches get ready for the launch of the Chichester Female Football Development Centre

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A new coaching scheme is being offered to girls to help promote and improve women’s football in the Chichester area.

It is hoped the sessions will help breed the next generation of footballers for Chichester Ladies FC.

The Chichester Female Football Development Centre will launch their Saturday Club this Saturday, running from 10am until 11.30am.

Classes will cost £2 per child per week although the first session will be free if you cut out the voucher in this week’s Observer and take it along.

It provides a great opportunity for girls aged six to 11 to join in football sessions and further their skills and understanding of the game.

Classes will be held at Chichester College, guiding youngsters through the fundamentals of football, including the basic technical and tactical aspects of the sport.

Lizzy Thoms, who works at the development centre, is eagerly looking forward to the start of the sessions, which she hopes will boost football participation locally.

She said: “The aim is to create a female youth set-up like there is for the boys, because there are no opportunities for girls around Chichester and surrounding areas.

“We want to encourage girls to play football.

“To start off we are offering sessions and hope to attract a lot of young players and start working with them.”

Thoms said the centre was not the only avenue they were looking at as they hoped to get girls playing regularly. The group are also hopeful the increase in numbers will mean more young people want to be involved, with the end goal of playing for the area’s women’s side.

She added: “Depending on the numbers we get at these sessions and the enjoyment, we would then look to create teams to get them playing in a league or in local competitions.

“The long-term aim is to develop players into senior football within Chichester.”

Parental involvement is an important part of developing the ladies’ game, with parents urged to encourage their children to thrive during sessions.

Thoms said: “We encourage parents to stay and watch if they want to – this way they can be involved with their children’s enthusiasm towards the game.

“They can watch them learn and grow as a player while having fun with other children their age.”

The centre is closely linked to the Chichester Ladies set-up as well as Chichester College and the University of Chichester.

This means the group will involve top-level coaching and facilities.

Matt Wright, the manager of Chichester Ladies, and his coaching staff and players are all involved.

Thoms added: “We have people and coaches from all three of these organisations trying to make this work and run as smoothly as possible.

“All of the coaches at the Saturday club will be FA level one or two qualified – including the head coach of Chichester Ladies, as well as Hannah McNamara, who played for the club.

“Hannah has bundles of previous experience as an FA level two coach, including working out in the USA at summer camps.”

For more information contact Matt Wright at matt.wright@chichester.ac.uk

DAN BRETT