More women are now interested in football

Sunday 7th August 2022 11:00 am
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After England women’s success in Euro 2022, defeating Germany in the final on Sunday, the Manx Independent looked into the position of the women’s game on the island and whether the Lionesses’ victory will see an uplift in females getting involved in the local game.

Despite records of women’s football on the island dating back to as early as 1895, when the British Ladies’ Football Club visited Manx shores that saw 2,000 spectators watch an exhibition match at Falcon Cliff in Douglas, competitive women’s football is only in its 23rd year on the Isle of Man.

Ahead of the new 2022/23 season, the Isle of Man Football Association is expecting seven women’s teams to enter the adult female league, one more than last season.

This includes a brand new team, Malew AFC.

Since the women’s game has gained more publicity through media coverage over the years, the participation numbers have been steadily growing on the island, and after Euro 2022 and especially Sunday’s historic final, the Isle of Man FA is expecting a further rise in interest.

Simon Elson, women and girls’ development officer at the Manx FA, said: ‘We have already seen a couple of parents and women ask about getting involved in football following Sunday’s amazing result. We have shared a number of more general ways to get involved posts on our social media accounts which have had a good level of interaction.’

The FA has also been running a number of initiatives to further inspire girls across the island to lace up their boots, namely the women’s 8-a-side summer league held at the Bowl, a ‘Wildcats centre’ to develop five-to 11-year-olds and most recently a fun ‘Euro style tournament’ for under 10 and under 12, with 43 excited girls in attendance.

With increased interest in the female game, there is a possibility that the other 19 local clubs without a women’s side on the island could look to develop one, and Simon Elson believes this is achievable.

He said: ‘Any club can set up a women’s or girls’ team. I will always offer my support.

‘We have secured additional funding to help with the start-up costs of new teams in the female game as we best try to replicate the previous Football Foundation Grow the Game grants [received prior to the pandemic].’

One factor that’s seen as vital in maintaining the women’s game progresses is the need for volunteers.

Mr Elson said: ‘There is a fantastic support network for the female game. We run four to five free coaching events a season and invite FA regional coach development officers over to the island to support this work. We want to make volunteers feel supported in helping us and our clubs grow female provision and continue to go from strength to strength.

Fore more information contact Simon : [email protected]

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