Sunderland College has been chosen by the FA to kick-off a national footballing campaign with the goal of getting more females involved in the sport.
More than 150 girls, aged between 12 and 16, from schools across Sunderland will be taking part in the #WECANPLAY football tournament at the college on Monday.
This is the second time the English Colleges Football Association has chosen Sunderland College to host a feature event during Girls’ Football Week, running from 6 – 12 November.
The week is designed to attract more females into the sport while showcasing the footballing opportunities available to women, and is part of the FA’s campaign to double the amount of females playing football by 2020.
As well as competing in five-a-side football, the schoolgirls will have the chance to take part in other football-related activities including soccercise and speed cage, as well as training sessions with FA licensed coaches.
It will also feature appearances from FAWSL players who will be giving a talk on their career, followed by a question and answer session.
Organised by Lucy Oliver, Sunderland College’s sports development officer, the event will be aired on Sky Sports News and is expected to attract national attention.
Lucy said: “Last year we had more than 50 girls take part in this event and it proved to be a massive success, so we’re looking forward to building on this and engaging with a new young generation of females. It’s so important to get the message out from an early age that football is not just a male sport, and through campaigns like Girl’s Football Week we can promote the benefits of females participating in football and other sports.
“We had tangible results from last year’s event in terms of young females getting more involved in the sport, and we’re confident that Monday’s event will also make a lasting impression on the participants. We could be watching some female football stars in the making!”
Ellen Thinnesen, principal and chief executive of Sunderland College, added: “As a college, we are invested in the wellbeing of our students and the young people in our community. As well as encouraging healthy minds, we also believe it is just as important to shine a spotlight on exercise and participation in sports and other activities. And that is why we are committed to organising and promoting campaigns such as Girls’ Football Week – to ensure young people have the opportunity to explore these options in a welcoming and nurturing environment.
“We’re thrilled to be part of such an important event that can make a real difference to the lives of those who participate in it. This could open up opportunities that the girls may not have had before, or it could be the event that kickstarts their passion for football and sport.”
Everyone who takes part will leave with a goodie bag and a range of other freebies.