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Girls give the boys a lesson in enthusiasm for the game
Buy this photo » Some of the girls taking part in the football training sessions at Oxford City FC. Picture: OX62345 Damian Halliwell
GIRLS’ football has seen a surge in popularity in Oxford with the membership at Oxford City FC almost quadrupling in a year.
The England women’s team has been inspiring young players, thrashing Turkey 8-0 in a World Cup qualifer on Thursday.
Oxford City FC started a girls’ team last year with 12 players and have this season launched a push to get more girls involved in the sport.
Now the club has 40 girls regularly attending sessions and it is offering free training to boost numbers even more.
Oxford City FC welfare officer Peter Burden said: “We run one free session on Thursdays, but if the numbers keep increasing then we would look to do more than one.
“We started the girls’ team last year with 12 girls and this year I have pushed to get more girls playing the sport and we have ended up with 40.
“We have under-15s, under-12s, under-11s and we have enough girls to do an under-10s and under-nines is building up now.
“It really is going well.”
He added: “I just think they are having a lot of fun.
“They are laughing, giggling. I think that is why it is popular – and they are making new friends.
“We have got girls coming from Bicester, Faringdon, all over – not just Oxford.”
Mr Burden said people were more aware of women’s football now and a visit from the England women’s team had boosted the girls’ enthusiasm last year.
Oxford City’s managing director Colin Taylor said: “The growth in the club is all around the girls’ team.
“That is what I have been finding with the sessions. We have been inundated. The only way we can grow is to have more girls’ teams and it is really popular – and not just because it is free.
“There is a lot of focus on the sport now. Women’s football is getting more focus on TV.”
Oxford City has 41 teams based at the club.
The free girls’ football sessions are run on Thursdays from 5.30pm until 7pm at Oxford City’s ground in Marsh Lane.
For more information call Mr Burden on 07900 832429.
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