A guide for teachers wishing to introduce football
Outlined below are several programmes, competitions and initiatives that ISFA is either running or can support that will assist in getting girls’ football kicked off in schools.
Taster Sessions and activities
The most common starting point for any school wanting to get girls’ football started is to run a girls’ football activity to gauge interest and hopefully begin to get more girls involved. This can take a number of forms, but one of the most successful is to use a ‘taster session’ followed by an activity. In your taster session, you want to teach a very basic skill, for example passing and receiving, and then allow the girls to play the game. To run a weekly session, it is important to use games and sessions to teach some basic skills, but also let the girls play – after all, that’s the fun part!
If you are in a prep school, you could work with the FA Tesco Skills Coaches for your area to deliver a taster session or, even better, a six week coaching programme (which is free of charge) for 5-11 age group which will hopefully accomplish the same goals.
When you have enough girls that want to play, you may want to start looking at fixtures or festivals. ISFA has a list of schools on the website that are currently playing some sort of girls’ football and whom you can contact. Alternatively, ISFA runs smaller regional events at its Girls’ Football Development Schools and you should look at the regional sections of the website (e.g. London and the South East) for details of these events. It is important to note that many schools run girls’ football programmes which are in their early stages of development and the key aim at present is participation – so don’t be afraid to take your girls to a tournament to give it a go.
ISFA runs 2 main national competitions, the U18 National Girls Cup and the ISFA National Seven-a-Side Tournamnets. The U18 Cup is run on a regional basis with northern and southern half of the draws with the winners meeting each other in the final. This can involve girls in years 11, 12 or 13.
The ISFA National Seven-a-Side Tournament take place for U18 players on a Sunday each autumn and is always an enjoyable day which attracts much positive feedback from participating schools.
Following consultation with schools, most girls football for U15s and below takes place in the summer term. ISFA regional tournaments already take place at U15, U13, and U11 age levels, mainly in the south-east and north-west but it is hoped to expand to other regions if the demand exists.
ISFA Representative Football
You may be at a school with one or two excellent female footballers but insufficient interest to start a girls’ football activity. If that is the case, ISFA runs U18 representative football to encourage these girls. ISFA runs regional representative teams for the Home Counties, Midlands, North, South-East and South-West. Trials are held in January every year and the regions compete at the Regional Representative Festival in March every year, in addition to a team from Scotland.
From that festival, a squad is selected from year 11 and year 12 players which will be the ISFA National Girls U18 Squad for the subsequent season. Girls that are in year 11, 12 or 13 are eligible to access ISFA’s Girls’ Representative programme.
Finally, student volunteers can be an excellent way to support your developing girls’ football programme. ISFA is looking to recognise, reward and develop its young volunteers, male or female, through the ISFA Football Futures Award, details of which can be found here.