Player Pathway Event Aims To Boost Female Participation In Football
- The programme aims to increase the amount of female participation in football
- Leicester City assistant manager Craig Shakespeare was on hand to give some guidance and share his experiences within the game
King Power Stadium welcomed over 70 girls on Monday evening as the LCFC Community Trust aims to boost female participation in football with their Premier League Girls Player Pathway event.
The LCFC Community trust were joined by representatives of female football from across the city including Leicester City Ladies FC, The Football Association and Leicester City’s Girls Centre of Excellence.
Leicester City assistant manager Craig Shakespeare was also on hand to share his experiences within the game at both player and managerial level, expressing how hard work and determination was vital in the early stages of his career.
Premier League Girls sees LCFC Community Trust offer free, girls-only football sessions aimed at young girls living in some of Leicestershire’s most disadvantaged and disengaged communities.
LCFC Community Trust Community Cohesion Manager James Lowbridge said: “At this particular event we had five local secondary schools involved in the Premier League Girls project.
“There are a lot of barriers that prevent girls from playing football, so we aim to provide them with the opportunity to play regularly.
“The Player Pathway event has given us the chance to invite local clubs from across Leicestershire to come and speak about their club and explain how to get involved.
“Eventually, girls can move across our Player Pathway and into the Girls Centre of Excellence, which helps to identify talent in Leicester.
“There’s a shortage of inner-city girls playing in Leicester, so we want to give them the opportunity to play football. If we can do that, then we see that as a success.
“Craig Shakespeare also came down which is great to see. We’re hoping that some of his stories will inspire and guide some of those young girls in attendance.”
The Premier League Girls Player Pathway event uses the unique appeal of Leicester City and the expertise of LCFC Community Trust coaches to engage young girls in football and sporting activities, with the ultimate aim of increasing female participation.
To help boost this, the LCFC Community Trust works with partnered schools to deliver the girls-only programme to help break down some of the barriers that prevent girls and women from accessing sport.
Since September, the LCFC Community Trust has already engaged over 100 females in the programme, and this number is increasing each week, as new schools and partners are being established.
Participants are given access to regular coaching sessions, with the chance to play in regional and national competitions.
Leicester City Girls Centre of Excellence Technical Director Raffaele Long said: “The Player Pathway programme is developed through the Community Trust and the Premier League to engage girls over the age of 14.
“It’s designed to get numbers of participation up as well as hoping to improve the wellbeing and fitness of those girls involved.
“It gives them the initial impetus to get them playing football. If they then choose to pursue that, they are directed down avenues that will be beneficial to them.
“These girls are given an opportunity to play a sport – we hope that they enjoy it and that’s our priority.”
One of the main outcomes of the programme is to sustain females in sport and provide a player pathway for girls to be referred across.
Local clubs as well as the Girls Centre of Excellence act as progression routes, allowing girls to start with attending Premier League Girls sessions, find a club to play for and look to be scouted by the Girls Centre of Excellence.
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