In celebration Of International Women’s Day 2023, Surrey FA Held a Q&A and Networking Event with special guest speakers.
The event gave attendees the opportunity to network with players, referees, coaches and volunteers from across the female game in Surrey. Before two diverse guest panels discussed their eclectic experiences.
Each panel was hosted exceptionally by members of the Surrey FA Youth Forum. The first consisted of; Alice Kempski, FA National Development Manager, Carol Bates, Founder of Crawley Old Girls and Sabiha Jamal, Head of Football at Goals4Girls.
They each discussed how they became involved in football, the struggles and lack of opportunities they have faced throughout their individual careers, whilst highlighting the positive steps the women and girls' game has taken in such a short period of time.
Alice Kempski spoke about the National FA Strategy and the future for female football across all levels, taking inspiration from other countries on how we can change the perception and give women and girls the choice of different playing opportunities. The panel also discussed the importance of giving women a voice within football and offering them a sustainable pathway from playing to coaching, refereeing, or volunteering.
The second panel explored how to be a male ally in female sports, it included; Keith Boanas, Coach Development Manager at Palace for Life Foundation, Dan Storm, General Manager at Surrey Storm, and Steve Jaye, Head Coach at Fulham Women FC.
They discussed how having both female and male coaches to co-deliver sessions can be beneficial for female players, as they have a coach who understands their experiences in football. However, Steve iterated that gender shouldn’t be seen as a barrier, but rather the focus should be on having staff with a range of different personalities and experiences to support players. They also discussed the importance of growing the coverage of the female game and celebrating the incredible work women are doing.
Keith further highlighted the importance of education in helping support women and girls’ fitness. With Sky Sports reporting that female players are six times more likely to suffer ACL injuries during their career, he discussed not only how it is vital that coaches understand the medical impact of their sessions, but also how incorporating elements from other sports whether that be basketball, rugby or handball can be useful to building players fitness in a safe and engaging way.
We hope that those that attended felt inspired to continue or start their journeys in the female game and had the opportunity to learn from our panellists about how they can help create a sense of belonging and togetherness within the female game whatever their role. A special thank you also to Surrey FA partners Specsavers and Capital Content, who joined us to show their support and network on the evening.
To find out more about women and girls’ football in Surrey please follow the link below:
WOMEN & GIRLS FOOTBALL