Aimone Sharif speaks with Abby Sanderson, the AU female football intern, in preparation for National Girls’ Football Week
The week of the 5th to the 11th of October, as well as being the week the Beatles released their first single, is known as the National Girls’ Football Week. As the FA releases the official banners, our own Women’s football Intern Abby Sanderson prepares for the biggest week of her life yet. Working with Hertfordshire University’s Athletic Union, Abby has a target to hit and she is motivated to reach it. Sparing a couple of minutes Abby agrees to answer a few questions.
Why are you so interested in Girls’ Football Week and how do you feel about it?
I was appointed as Women’s Football Development Intern to boost participation rate of females within football at the University so I thought what better way than to celebrate National Girls’ Football Week?! This whole role of promoting and engaging females in football is going to be a challenge but one that I am really looking forward to. Women’s football is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and this in itself is something to celebrate! So many girls and women are participating in football due to the high success of the lionesses and the many female role models that have emerged as a result of their success.
What does this project mean to you?
This project is hugely important to me as I thoroughly enjoy football and I would love to introduce others to the game. I have a huge passion for this game and I want more people to share that passion with me. Although this week is football focused it is also a great opportunity to reintroduce women to sport, not just football, hopefully the buzz and excitement of the week will encourage girls to play football but may also direct girls to other sports. This is really important for me and I am motivated and will do my best to get as many girls involved as I can.
What has been the highlight of this project so far?
Persuading people who may not have had much faith in the success of this week to think “actually we can do this!” has been the best part of it so far. I am loving being able to talk about football all the time and promoting it to the girls all throughout uni.
How do you plan on reaching out this week?
It is really important that the week focuses on the enjoyment and fun element of football but there is the opportunity for players to improve and develop their skills. The week has many different activities going on however not all activities will be typically ‘football’. The week aims to experiment and see which activities are popular; for example fitball being one of the activities which we hope to become a permanent fixture throughout the year. All sessions will be drop in sessions and with a ‘give it a go’ attitude to create a welcoming and non threatening atmosphere.
What do you expect from the project?
Hopefully the project will create a group of players who would like to continue playing football on either a competitive and or recreational basis, attending weekly sessions to improve and develop their skills. The project aims to attract 30-40 new females to play football. The vision is to be able to offer football activities throughout the year at different levels: AU teams, female football tournaments and recreational football sessions.
Abby closes of by insisting that the National Girls’ Football Week will be fun filled and invites anyone to come and check it out from the 5th to the 11th of October. Activities take place on de Havilland campus and College Lane depending on the day.