Girls urged to get involved in South Tyneside football team

Anth Atkinson, front, and his Jarrow Wildcats players are hoping for more girls to get involved in the team.
Anth Atkinson, front, and his Jarrow Wildcats players are hoping for more girls to get involved in the team.

A football coach has urged girls in South Tyneside to give the sport a try – and help save a recently-formed team.

Jarrow Wildcats is appealing for more players to come forward, and increase female participation numbers in the borough.

Eva Leng, 10, is one of those who regularly attends the sessions on Sunday mornings.

Eva Leng, 10, is one of those who regularly attends the sessions on Sunday mornings.

The club, which was set up through a Football Association scheme two months ago, trains once a week, but is struggling to get more than 10 players involved on a regular basis.

Anth Atkinson, who runs the team, is hoping to more than double that number, with all girls aged five to 11 welcome to join up.

Mr Atkinson, whose daughter Emily, eight, helps out with playing and coaching, said: “The team is mainly aimed at girls who have never played football before.

“I’ve advertised it, but we’re struggling for numbers. We’d love to have between 20 and 25 at our sessions on a regular basis, and get more girls into the sport.

Football is very male-dominated in this country, but it would be nice to get the girls up there with the boys in terms of numbers

Anth Atkinson

“If we do get those sort of numbers, that should help to keep the club running long-term, because at the moment we don’t know if the FA would give us a further grant.

“It would be great for us to get more girls involved, because it’s important for children to stay active, especially during the holidays.

“Football is very male-dominated in this country, but it would be nice to get the girls up there with the boys in terms of numbers.”

The FA set up the Wildcats initiative as part of a bid to double girls’ participation in football by 2020.

Wildcats teams across the country are giving girls regular opportunities to play the sport and take part in organised sessions created exclusively for girls.

The scheme coincides with greater national exposure for women’s football, with the England team currently excelling at the European Championships.

Jarrow Wildcats train at 10am every Sunday at Hedworthfield CA, in Cornhill, Jarrow. If your child would like to get involved, contact Anth on 07779 347041.