Southwark Jaguars has only been in operation since June this year and already we have seen a buzz being created around the fact that we will be offering opportunities for young girls to play football in their local community which is the most deprived and economically challenging part of the borough of Southwark. We feel that our targeted girls football programme will allow us to contribute to the needs of the local community in several ways.
Youth Engagement: It can provide constructive activities for young people, keeping them engaged and away from negative influences, particularly in a area such as Southwark where crime rates are still significantly higher than in other boroughs.
Community Cohesion: Sports, particularly football, bring people together, fostering a sense of community and promoting social interaction among residents. We feel that this in particular will be so beneficial when encouraging more girls to play football in their free time.
Health and Well-being: Access to sports facilities and activities can improve the physical and mental well-being of community members.
Education Support: Provide tutoring or mentoring alongside sports activities.
Employment Opportunities: The grant may create job opportunities, such as coaching benefiting the local economy and hopefully encouraging more girls to step into football coaching and obtain football coaching qualifications.
Community Pride: A successful sports program can instil a sense of pride and achievement in the area, boosting morale and self-esteem. Having their own girls football football across a range of age groups will also helps target a wider range of girls into playing football.
Talent Identification: It may help identify and nurture talented individuals, providing them with a pathway to pursue sports at higher levels.
Attracting Investment: A vibrant sports community can attract further investments, leading to improved infrastructure and services in the area.
Empowerment: Playing football builds confidence and self-esteem, showing girls they can excel in traditionally male-dominated fields.
Physical Health: Football promotes physical fitness, helping girls develop strength, endurance, and overall health.
Teamwork: Being part of a football team teaches collaboration, communication, and the value of working together towards a common goal.
Leadership: Girls learn leadership skills as they take on roles like team captain or support their teammates both on and off the field.
Skill Development: Football hones motor skills, coordination, and strategic thinking, fostering holistic development.
Friendships: It's an opportunity to make lasting friendships with like-minded peers who share a passion for the sport.
Gender Equality: Participation challenges gender stereotypes, promoting the idea that girls can succeed in any endeavour.
Confidence in Body Image: Engaging in physical activity helps girls embrace and appreciate their bodies, irrespective of societal pressures.
Life Lessons: Football teaches resilience, discipline, time management, and dealing with wins and losses gracefully.
Fun and Enjoyment: Ultimately, playing football offers young girls a chance to have fun, relieve stress, and experience the joy of competition.
In essence, girls' football goes beyond the sport itself, imparting valuable life skills and empowering girls to overcome challenges and succeed in various aspects of their lives.
We would like to offer two free football based sessions per week during term time but also some holiday sessions. The weekly sessions would take place on a Monday evening from 5-6pm for 10 to 14 year olds and a Saturday morning from 9.30 till 11am for 4 till 11 year olds. These sessions would take place at Michael Faraday Primary School and at Burgess Park Community pitch. Both are based at the heart of the Aylesbury Estate and the school has recently had a 3G pitch fitted which was part funded by Reiss Nelson who plays for Arsenal and is a former pupil of the school who lived on the Aylesbury Estate. Michael Faraday is where our Southwark Jaguars under 9's, 10's & 11's girls teams currently train every Thursday evening.
Delivering a successful girls' football program will involve several key steps:
Ensuring that we open the sessions to girls of all skills levels and may just want to play football in their spare time rather that play for a team. We have three teams at under 9's, 10's & 11's who will play in the Tandridge League and we would like to encourage as many girls to paly for our teams moving forward however we would also be keen to just encourage girls to play and not have to join a team if they don't wish to.
Securing appropriate facilities, such as a 3G pitch means that we will have the necessary all weather pitch that won't be affected by poor weather meaning that seasons would have to be cancelled often.
Qualified Coaches: Hire or recruit coaches, some who are experienced in coaching girls' football and possess strong communication and leadership skills but also others who would like to take their first steps into coaching, particularly girls and women.
Develop a balanced coaching curriculum that covers technical skills (dribbling, passing, shooting), tactical understanding, physical fitness, and mental aspects of the game.
Inclusivity: Create an environment that welcomes girls of all backgrounds, skill levels, and abilities. Focus on fostering a sense of belonging.
Safety First & safeguarding measures: Implement safety protocols, including proper warm-ups, cool-downs, and injury prevention measures. Have a first aid kit on hand and ensure that all staff have completed their Safeguarding course with the FA.
Parental Engagement: Involve parents by providing information about the program, expectations, and updates on their children's progress.
Progressive Approach: Start with basic skills and gradually introduce more complex drills and strategies as participants develop.
Fun and Variety: Incorporate fun activities and games to keep participants engaged and excited about learning that make them want to come back. .
Regular Feedback: Provide consistent feedback to participants, highlighting their progress and areas for improvement.
Friendlies and Matches: Organize friendly matches and small-sided games to help participants apply what they've learned in real game situations.
Empowerment: Encourage leadership among participants, allowing them to take ownership of certain aspects of the program.
Celebrate Achievements: Recognize and celebrate individual and team achievements, both on and off the field.
Communication: Maintain open communication with participants, parents, and coaches. Address any concerns promptly.
Long-Term Pathways: Provide information about opportunities for further development, such as joining local clubs or progressing to more competitive leagues.
The success of the girls' football program depends on creating a positive and supportive environment where participants can develop their skills, build friendships, and enjoy the sport.
Hope you can help us through the start of our journey.
Yours in girls football