London Youth Games inspires future generation of Lionesses
Tournament inspires love of football in teenage girls in lead up to biggest UEFA Women’s EUROs ever
200 pre-teen girls took part in a football tournament at Gunnersbury Sports Hub, just 4 days before the record-breaking UEFA Women’s EUROs starts.
The London Youth Games football event, on 2nd July, included 25 London boroughs, and reached young girls at an age where traditionally many girls drop out of sport.
Research from Women in Sport shows that only 14% of girls aged 5-16 achieve recommended levels of physical activity, dropping to 10% of girls aged 13-16. Sports competitions like London Youth Games are so important to help tackle this and keep young girls interested, inspired and motivated to keep taking part in sport.
The fun, inclusive competition aims to prevent girls from developing deep rooted negative attitudes towards sport and give girls a reason to keep playing.
Jon Whittingham, The FA’s Women’s Talent Technical Coach, said “The London Youth Games is vital to help keep girls in sport at this age where they can drop out. We’ve got the EUROs that start soon and what London Youth Games do is really important to give young people the opportunities that can be achieved through sport. Ultimately, we don’t want young people to feel like they haven’t got an opportunity to be involved in sport.”
Charlotte Marsh, Redbridge team manager said: “It’s massively importance for these young girls. This year, their passion for football is very strong and it’s all because of the EUROs. This age group is the year that girls can drop out of sport and football, so getting them into the sport and keeping them in, is going to be huge for their confidence and hopefully going forward to stay in the sport.”
Latest data shows only 19% of secondary school girls in England played football once a week or more, compared to 45% of secondary school boys in England, according to Sport England. With all eyes on the biggest Women’s Euros 2022, there’s even more importance on there being a greater number of opportunities for girls to take up football.
Grace Breen, Redbridge player, said: “To see so many girls today wanting to play football is really good. I feel like the EUROs coming up is such a big thing, the exposure that the women’s game is getting now is crazy, with hundreds of thousands of fans coming to watch women’s games. Seeing the Lionesses play football as their day job, it’s such an ambition for me to want to become a women’s footballer.”
Kaya Bomber, Haringey player said: “I think women’s football, especially the World Cup, has inspired me to get much better and more into football, and that’s led to me being at the London Youth Games right now. Football makes me feel really happy, it’s an escape for me if I’m feeling bored or if I’m feeling down, it helps me feel better. My friends are my team so it’s both football and a social event.”
The football event was part of the ‘Open Games’, which young people who either live or go to school in a London borough can compete in. The ‘Open Games’ is in partnership with our 33 London local authority members and are proudly supported by Nike.