We recently spoke with our Head of Girls Football, Sarah, to collect her thoughts on how our Girls Development programme performed in the last year. Sarah joined the team last year and is vastly experienced working within Girls football, having worked at West Ham, Sarah brings both vast knowledge and passion to her role at M.R.F.A.
How pleased have you been with the growth in our Girl’s Development Programme this year? Especially considering how many new girls we’ve had sign up this season?
“Really pleased considering it’s been a very disruptive year. We now have over 30 girls signed up to our Dunmow Development Centre and due to increased demand, we decided to launch a second Development Centre in Chelmsford, which has over 25 girls signed up already. We were planning on launching Chelmsford in 2020 but it’s been delayed due to the circumstances until January 2021 and we expect numbers to grow quickly when we start. We also ran our first ever Girls Only half term camp which had 30 girls attend.”
It’s impossible to talk about this year and not mention lockdown but how well do you think the girls responded to the challenges posed by the disruptions this year?
“The girls responded brilliantly. During the lockdowns, we ran challenges at home and virtual sessions on zoom, which were well attended and made a huge difference to the girl’s skill levels. When we came out of the lockdowns all of the girls returned to training, in addition, we were inundated with new enquiries.”
Giving girls the opportunity to play in fixtures throughout the season is something we pride ourselves on. Bearing that in mind, how did you feel the girls performed in the matches they played this year?
“The fixtures that we played before lockdown were a fantastic experience for the girls. Some girls play at a high level and are used to matches, so for them playing with girls of a high level from other teams for MRFA was a great way to develop. Some of the MRFA girls don’t currently play for teams, so to give them match experience meant they were challenged but grew in confidence and ability very quickly. We hope to play many more fixtures in 2021 and ultimately start MRFA teams to play in leagues.”
Finally, what are your hopes for the Girl’s Development Programme heading into 2021?
“There’s no limit to girls football as it’s growing all the time. We will open the second Development Centre in Chelmsford in January 2021 and will look to open more Development Centres in Essex as well. We would love to then open a Girls Academy Centre for the high performing players to really develop and progress them with more technical coaching. More matches will be organised and eventually MRFA girls teams.”
Book your free trial
A huge thank you to Sarah and the rest of the team for the work they’ve put into growing the Girls Development Programme this year! Don’t forget, we’re always looking to add to our ranks and you can sign up for your free trial to either of our Development centres here.