THE Arena’s girls’ and women’s football league has gone from strength to strength – and it’s partly down to the success of the England women’s team.
Ever since the excellent performance of our national team in the Women’s World Cup in Canada last year, there has been a real surge in interest in female football.
The Arena has its own FA-sanctioned league, formed in 2005 with six teams, thrive and now with 10 teams. There are still four of the founder teams actively involved, with competitive five-a-side matches taking place every Thursday evening from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.
As the Arena’s Football Manager Marcus Brown explains: “Overall, each team has become known to the others very well and one of the strengths of this league is the warm and friendly welcome each team displays.
“The standard of football played is both pacey and full of skills and has some excellent goalkeeping.”
The league is open to girls from the age of 14 up to adult level, refereed by LFA qualified officials and attracts a cross section of teams. One of them is Academy Juniors FC which is based at the Arena and which has around 130 players aged from eight to adults in its teams.
“People have become more aware of women’s football since the World Cup,” agrees Kirsty Entwistle, one of Academy’s team managers and a coach. “They know the standard is good.”
The Academy has under-nines teams, under 12s, under 15s and under 18s as well as a ladies’ side. The club was started by Steven Watson in 2008 and has grown since, now including 15 to 20 qualified coaches.
The club is always happy to welcome new players, especially under 15s currently, and will be holding trials at the end of the season.
The Arena also runs a Ladies’ Player Pool which finds women a team to play in depending on individual’s availability.