The world’s eyes will turn to Qatar for football’s FIFA World Cup final at the weekend, celebrating the game as the world’s most popular sport, could this popularity be spreading to female football?
Girls’ football in Nottinghamshire has grown to new heights this season thanks not just to the World Cup but more importantly England’s women’s football team’s success in winning the Euro 2022 final.
The Lionesses success inspired new interests in the game this season around Nottinghamshire.
One of the beneficiaries of this newfound passion for female football is the local club, Arnold Eagles Girls and Women’s FC, which was set up as an independent club in 2017.
It started out with having only six teams to begin with but has now expanded to having 17 junior teams.
The club secretary and co-founder of Arnold Eagles, Stephen Weatherby, explains how the success of the England women’s team in the Euros was a game-changer in participation rates in young girls for the club.
Weatherby, 70, said: “The women’s Euros certainly had an impact on the club come the new season, especially in terms of new joiners from the younger groups within our girl’s teams.”
“We definitely saw the big influx in players from the age groups of six to 10-year-olds.”
“I think this increase in participation in football, first started from the Olympics in 2012 there were girl’s football teams but only half the amount in comparison to what there are now.”
Since the historic win from the England women’s team, awareness of the Lionesses has increased by 32 percent among girls aged five to 16 in England.
Interest also spiked in women’s football, being up 12 percent across girls aged five to 16 in England compared to before the tournament, according to statistics from the FA.
The Arnold Eagles football club has been able to take advantage of this growing interest.
Firstly, it is set up to cater to females only and understands the particular reasons they enjoy football.
Weatherby reveals: “We are unique in Nottinghamshire because we only cater to girls and women players.”
“Friendship in girls’ football is a big part of it, and they prefer a more fun style of coaching, encouraging them to stay playing football even when they get older.”
Keyworth United is one of the several clubs around Nottinghamshire that also explained how the Lioness’s success on home turf inspired existing and future female players to strive for victory.
“we are unique in Nottinghamshire because we only cater to girls and women players.”
Stephen Weatherby, 70, Club secretary and founder of Arnold eagles.
Mark Ritchie,49, development officer at Keyworth United, said: “I do believe the Lionesses played a huge part for the club, but also the sport in its entirety.”
“It gave girls role models within the sport and the inspiration to pursue it further.”
- There are now 10,000 more girls playing football than there were five years ago, according to an annual survey of children’s fitness by Sport England.
- 1.1 million girls play kickabout football, according to statistics from the FA.
- Last season 147,000 female players competed in the affiliated league and cup competitions, statistics from the FA.
Click the link below to get more information on women’s football and how you can get involved.