Girls football academy poised for half-term launch in Lewisham and Southwark

Aspiring female footballers in south London will be handed a new opportunity to play, with the launch of Girls United London FC later this month.

The academy for girls aged 6-17, which aims to revolutionise the capital’s burgeoning grassroots scene, will begin sessions in Lewisham and Southwark this October half term.

Romina Calatayud, Girls United’s founding director, said: “There are great projects happening in south London at the moment but there aren’t enough opportunities for girls to play football. We hope to provide that.

“We want to be an important part of the girls’ grassroots scene in London, where there’s so much opportunity for growth.

“I’m a real believer that football can be super-impactful in a girl’s life.”

Girls United’s coaching will showcase the unique methodology they have developed alongside global organisations Coaches Across Continents and Positive Coaching Alliance, which aims to empower young women through football and prepare them for adult life as fully as possible.

Girls will be able to hone their sporting skills under qualified coaches but they will have leadership lessons integrated into those sessions, with local university students recruited to provide mentoring.

Active in Mexico since 2017, Girls United are ready to open in London thanks to support from the Football Foundation, which awarded a £6,000 grant this summer as part of their Grow The Game scheme (which is funded by the FA), and the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, who sponsor them.

A spokesperson for the Football Foundation said: “Girls United ticked all the boxes for us and demonstrated a real desire to enhance footballing provision for girls within the local community.”

The club aim to have 200 girls on their books by the end of 2019 and plan to host a tournament in conjunction with International Women’s Day next March.

The club will offer 90-minute Saturday morning sessions in three-month cycles, starting in November, but are first running a camp in Honor Oak Park in Lewisham from October 22-26. Free taster sessions will run there and at Peckham Rye Park on October 13 and 20.

Membership for a full term will deliver 13 sessions for £45 – less than £3.50 each – but families can also sign up on a pay-as-you-play basis.

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