Sutton United are encouraging women in the borough to get involved in football by offering them the chance to become fully-qualified coaches.
The community incentive, working in conjunction with the Surrey FA and London Sport, will offer women-only courses starting in March for those aged over 16.
The qualification at the end of the course is the FA Level 1 badge – a requirement for all professional coaches and is the first step on the coaching ladder.
Sutton United’s community officer Rob Hardy said: “The popularity of women’s football is rising, and we are keen to improve this in our borough.
“There is a lack of female coaches presently and it is our aim to increase this figure as it may help to strengthen the popularity of women’s football further.”
Only one of the teams in the Women’s Super League has a female manager and Hardy believes that this needs to improve.
“All-girls schools in the area are telling us just how popular football is with their students, but some are turned away as they have no role models at a grassroots level.”
The club are also involved in coaching projects at Nonsuch School, Cheam and hope to start a new scheme with Glenthorne School, Sutton.
This scheme is a part of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign and is fully supported by London Sport and the Surrey FA.
The county’s football development officer for Croydon and Sutton, John O’Malley, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for 24 females who attend the course.
“They will gain a valuable qualification and in an environment which will only maximise their learning outcomes.”
The club are also involved in other projects, such as walking football – a version of the game played by over 35s and strictly at walking pace.
Local residential homes have been in contact with Sutton and Hardy hopes to eventually found a Sutton United walking football team.
“We have a core group of players already interested in walking football and I am preparing a plan for us to secure more funding for walking football,” he said.
Further information on the women-only coaching course can be found at www.suttonunited.net
Mourinho image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks