The European championships start today and England’s women footballers will be in the spotlight for the first time since the Great Britain team captured the imagination at last year’s London Olympics.
Right on cue, a new magazine Kick Off Your Career is published this week, a joint venture by the Football Association and the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation.
Twenty female football pioneers have been interviewed by Sarah Juggins, the SJA Treasurer, and the aim of the publication is to encourage more girls and women into the sport.
Juggins has talked to coaches, administrators, journalists and medical staff for the magazine.
“This project was a great opportunity for me to help in the promotion of women’s sport,” Juggins said.
“Despite the success of so many of our sportswomen at the Olympics last year there was a danger that all that momentum would be lost, so projects like this, that aim to promote female sport, are essential if we are to have any sort of legacy for girls and women.
“After interviewing the 20 women who feature in Kick Off Your Career, I am much more positive that women, working in a range of sports-related roles, are managing to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes that still exist when it comes to playing a traditionally male sport like football.
“If nothing else, Kick Off Your Career shows that there are a variety of opportunities for women who want to get involved – it just takes a little bit of nerve.
“The common factor among the 20 women was a ‘can-do’ attitude.”
The FA decided to get involved as part of their 150th year celebrations after WSFF research showed that teenaged girls felt that participating in sport would not get them anywhere.
Juggins spoke to, among others, broadcaster Jacqui Oatley, sports lawyer Liz Ellen, MP Tracey Crouch, England team doctor Pippa Bennett, England footballer Kelly Smith, Premier League head of governance Jane Purdon, and FA coaches Hope Powell, Marieanne Spacey and Abbie Sadler.
The magazine has been welcomed by Anna Kessel, athletics correspondent for the Observer and Guardian and chair and founder of Women in Football.
She said: “At WiF, we want to make it possible for all women to access a diverse number of careers in the industry. From pitchside to the boardroom, we believe that talented women have a role to play in every single area of the beautiful game. Our extensive network exists for this very reason – to encourage, support and mentor peers and the next generation, and to help women forge exciting and rewarding careers in football. “
Kelly Simmons, FA director of women’s football and national game said: “These stories offer a fascinating insight into how the game has progressed in a very short time. I was at the FA when we took over in 1993 and in the past 20 years I am proud that we have grown the game at all levels.”
Kick Off Your Career is available as a PDF on www.thefa.com and will be distributed to all schools, colleges and universities throughout England.
- JOIN THE SJA and benefit from a recognised press card, priority entry to key events and significant discounts and members offers on a range of activities
UPCOMING SJA EVENTS
Mon Sep 9: SJA Autumn Golf Day, including the Phil Sheldon Trophy, at Muswell Hill Golf Club. Details to be announced shortly
Thu Dec 12: SJA 2013 British Sports Awards. Venue and ticket booking details to be announced soon