Boldon Girls football players star in FA’s Pledge of Positivity campaign alongside England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane

Footballers from South Tyneside have starred in a new campaign video launched by The FA alongside England captain and former Boldon player Steph Houghton.
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The Football Association (FA) launched its Pledge of Positivity campaign on Friday, February 28, calling on parents and spectators of under 18s grassroots football to commit to creating a more positive environment at matches across the country.

A recent survey conducted by The FA and Nielsen found 88% of over 1,000 grassroots participants cite parents as a driver of disrespect in grassroots football.

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In response The FA is encouraging those on the side-lines to support all players involved and respect referees, coaches and other spectators.

Boldon Girls FC with coach Paul SmithBoldon Girls FC with coach Paul Smith
Boldon Girls FC with coach Paul Smith

Earlier this month The FA visited Boldon Girls Brinkburn CIO in South Shields - the club where the Lionesses’ captain Steph Houghton honed her skills - to film the local players in action.

Coach Paul Smith, who founded Boldon Girls in 1992, said: “Over the years the club has grown into one of the biggest clubs, with many players progressing to a higher level of football and representing England Football Association at various levels.”

Paul, who also coached England players Jill Scott and Demi Stokes added: “The club is very fortunate to have committed coaches and good training facilities that benefit the girls’ progress and we are happy to have the support of Brinkburn CIO and South Tyneside Council. We welcome any future players.”

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England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane are the first two people to make the Pledge of Positivity, which is based on the The FA’s RESPECT behavioural code of conduct.

England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane.England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane.
England captains Steph Houghton and Harry Kane.

The two skippers also penned a joint letter to parents and spectators, which was painted into the touchlines at their childhood clubs.

It highlights the importance of positive support and the role it played in their own footballing development, from the grassroots game all the way to Wembley.

In the video, Steph speaks about the encouragement she received at Boldon Girls, she commented: “Positivity is essential in football. It’s important to create an environment where everyone enjoys playing. There are small things you can do on the touchline – like applauding good play from both teams – that has a big impact on young players.”

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Father-of-two, Harry Kane, added: “As parents and spectators, it is our job to make sure that children enjoy playing football. The pitch should be a place of support and encouragement. Youngsters should never feel pressure or intimidation from the side-lines, so I’m delighted to add my name to the Pledge of Positivity and I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to do the same.”

The FA filming of Boldon Girls FC.The FA filming of Boldon Girls FC.
The FA filming of Boldon Girls FC.

Chief executive of the FA, Mark Bullingham said: “Having coached grass roots football for the last five years, I’ve seen first-hand the huge impact that parents on the side-lines can have on players from both a positive and negative point of view. It’s crucial that we create an atmosphere where players are encouraged rather than abused, for their enjoyment of football as well as their mental health. I urge others to join me in making this pledge and showing their support for kids’ football.”

Make the pledge at