Updated: Jul 7, 2019
Soccer Shooters has been running a FA Wildcats initiative to engage girls into football for over a year now. A lot of the engagement is borne through the environment that surrounds them; we spoke with one of our parents, Tracy Roberts who has a daughter that attends our Wildcats sessions and how the Women’s World Cup has impacted on her.
We started by asking how their daughter first got interested in football,
“Both myself and Andy(dad) are football fans so it’s always been part of her Poppy’s life as she’s been growing up. She’s always loved kicking a ball about and was encouraged to play by her dad and uncle.”
It’s clear to see the environment and the encouragement from both parents and extended family is really important to feeling confident to try the game. We have been giving hints and tips to parents who play with their kids in the park and asking them to play a shielding and stealing game which is a great way to develop ball manipulation skills. This is supposed to be a replacement to passing to each other. We want our kids to keep the ball as a reaction, not kick it away.
Having a girl’s only environment to train in is all about recognising the differences between boys and girls and what changes can be made to make sure everyone has the right learning environment.
“Poppy loves coming to football on a Saturday morning but she used to shy away from it at school. We found out this was because when she played with the boys at school they would never pass her the ball and if she did get it they were really rough.”
It’s not just technical skills that have improved with Wildcats training. Confidence is a by-product of feeling more accomplished to complete a task or sport.
“…she’s developing skills and seems more confident to take on some of the boys and properly join in”
Having the Women’s World Cup available and giving role models for girls to see is proving to inspire the nation or both boys and girls. This time last year we had asked the girls who their favourite players were, they were all men! Harry Kane mostly…. We asked Tracy if Poppy had a favourite female footballer.
“She talks most about Nikita Parris, but Lucy Broze comes a close second after that amazing goal against Norway”
Well done to all those parents out there setting their kids up with the support and the environment to try new things. The relationship with sport and football for this family has gone both ways as Tracy reveals that Poppy’s active lifestyle and engagement in football has inspired her too.
“(Poppy) is quite active and loves trying new things and we are both happy to encourage this. Andy has always been very active with her but I realised I wasn’t setting the best example so I’ve upped my game to become healthier and more active”
So, the Women’s World Cup has certainly educated and inspired this family and all comes to an end on with the Final between USA and the Netherlands Sunday the 7th July. As Tracy has found with a streak of competition thrown in you could find yourself out in that park keeping active to keep up with your ever improving children.