Football club sees boom in women's and girls' teams

Summer, Mark and TJ
Image caption,

Kesgrave Kestrels Summer (left) and TJ (right) are coached by Mark Lay

  • Published

A football team has expanded its women and girls' teams after seeing a significant rise in demand, according to one coach.

Mark Lay coaches Kesgrave Kestrels FC Under-12 girls team, who have just lifted the Suffolk County Cup.

The club has one of the largest number of teams within the Suffolk Girls and Women's Football League - and wants more girls to join.

Mr Lay said that girls' football within Suffolk had "just absolutely mushroomed" in popularity.

He described the County Cup win as "a phenomenal achievement" and said it was the only all-girls team playing in the Saturday morning mixed football league.

"It's very rare across the whole country that that happens and they just recently won the cup final of that - which for an all-girls team against the boys is incredible," he said.

Image caption,

Summer and TJ are both a part of the under 12s County Cup winning team at Kesgrave Kestrels

Mr Lay, who is on the management committee for the Suffolk Girls and Women's Football League, said the number of teams participating had doubled in the past two or three years, with 128 teams now playing across the age groups next season.

"We are very lucky that we have a well run club and a lot of clubs in Suffolk are like that," he added.

"We are just very proactive and look forward rather than maybe looking backwards."


Summer, 11, said seeing her friends get into the sport encouraged her.

"I thought I may as well try it, it sounded fun," she said.

"Our team are very good. I've made so many friends and we've just become a big team."

Tallulah-Jai, or TJ, also 11, added: "When I was younger I joined a little kickers team and then I stopped for a while.

"My dad got me back into playing it and I've played since I was six.

"[The Lionesses] make women's football look really good because they went and showed everyone that it is possible for women's teams to play."

Suffolk FA says clubs across the county, like Kesgrave, are looking for more girls to play football and has a list on its website, external.

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