Powerleague kicks off campaign to attract more women into 5-a-side football
Powerleague, the UK’s largest 5-a-side football operator, has launched an initiative to attract more female players into the game.
Called #shescores, the programme is made up of three distinct ways for players of all abilities and aged 18+ to get involved. For league teams and players there is the launch of the first Women’s Euro League. Starting in June, the format will be a weekly game night with teams playing two matches of 25 minutes each. The ultimate winners of the League get an all expenses trip to the 2017 Women’s European Championships in The Netherlands.
The second part of the initiative is free pitch hire an hour every week for women’s teams. Speaking to female players, it became clear to Powerleague that cost is often a barrier to playing so all day at weekends and between 9-5 on weekdays, women can now play for free.
Finally, for those new to the game or players who want to increase their fitness, ten Powerleague centres will run free weekly Soccercise sessions. Designed by The FA, Soccercise is a football themed workout for women. For someone looking to learn some basic skills to enable them to have a kick around with their kids or want to take that first step to playing competitively, Soccercise is 60-minute aerobic workout incorporating football moves.
To encourage participation in the programme, Powerleague has appointed a team of Women’s Ambassadors across the UK. These are staff members with a passion for the women’s game and they will work closely with The FA at County level to tailor the programme to suit the needs of local women.
Elizabeth Bogue, Assistant Manager of Powerleague Finchley, is one of the Women’s Ambassadors. “I started playing when I was at school and spent my youth playing for different teams. When I was 16 I joined a sporting excellence academy and spent two years studying and playing with them. Football is a massive part of my life. It’s not just the game, but it’s the friendships I cherish with a great group of girls. I’ve been with my current team for three seasons and we have amazing fun together. Women tell me they want to try it but often don’t know where to begin or think it’s not for them. As a Powerleague Women’s Ambassador I’ll be speaking to local women, listening to what they want and creating a football experience at my centre just for them.”
Rupert Campbell, Powerleague CEO, said, “Participation in women’s football is on the increase and we want women players to feel welcomed and at home in our centres. We’ve spoken to players and understand there can be barriers to playing 5-a-side so we’ve looked at how we can redesign 5-a-side to overcome some of these obstacles. #shescores is part of Powerleague’s long-term commitment to make 5-a-side appealing to different groups and ultimately widen participation levels. This is great news for women players as for the first time they can now play 5-a-side for no charge thanks to our free hour initiative.”
Kelly Simmons, FA Participation and Development Director, said, ““Increasing the number of women that play football is one of our key objectives at the FA and we’re keen to support initiatives like this that help to drive participation.
“It’s excellent news that Powerleague are working to attract more women into playing 5-a-side and crucially, removing some of the barriers that might prevent them taking part. We hope it proves a big success.”
To sign up to the Women’s Euro League or find out more about the #shescores programme, visit www.powerleague.co.uk/womensfootball