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As England’s Lionesses’ prepare for tonight’s semi final against the USA in the Women’s World Cup, a Norfolk team has been holding training sessions with youngsters to inspire future generations of women footballers.
King’s Lynn Ladies Football Club, who finished third in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League last season, have been championing women’s football at the grassroots level.
In a video released by one of their sponsors Adrian Flux Insurance, the team reflects on their recent success and holds one of their coaching sessions with West Winch Girls who are aged between eight and 11 years old.
The idea is to show local girls there are opportunities within their community to continue to progress their skills and play in a senior side when they’re older.
“It’s really good to see young girls playing football,” explains Georgia Freeman, who plays for King’s Lynn Ladies.
“West Winch Girls came to one of our home games last season and we took pictures with them and did a bit of training beforehand. We really enjoyed it. It’s important to give opportunities, the same way that we were given opportunities when we started.
“We’re open to everyone and it’s always been like that for as long as I’ve been here. The West Winch Girls might look to sign with us in a few years’ time, but the most important thing is to build their confidence and to let them know that they can play because some young kids won’t know they can.”
She added: “You’ve got to unlock their potential. The key is confidence and opportunity and that’s what we like to give.”
Georgia Freeman (left) teaching a dribbling drill to West Winch Girls team
Current player Charlee Griffith knows all about the opportunities being given by King’s Lynn Ladies and the feel good factor surrounding the England women’s team now they’ve reached the final four of the World Cup. And she is hoping more stereotypes can be broken through the success.
“There are a lot of stereotypes about women’s football,” Griffith said. “The amount of comments we get about ‘do you know the offside rule? Can women play football?’ But when they see us play and the England women’s team in the World Cup, they realise we are good at it.”
Over 700 spectators watched King’s Lynn Ladies play at Carrow Road, the home of Premier League side Norwich City in the final of the Norfolk County Cup last season. And whilst the team enjoyed their trip to the top-flight ground, Griffith emphasised the importance of inspiring girls in their local community to participate.
Griffith added: “You’ve got to work on the grassroots and it’s brilliant we’re starting to see women’s football take off. The young girls are the ones who will hopefully grow into an environment that’s becoming successful.
“People are now becoming aware of the women’s game. Hopefully it can become as successful as the men’s game in the future.”