Girls’ football week may be over but the work to grow women and girls’ football doesn’t stop here.
Neither does our work to shine a light on some of the inspirational stories of women and girls in Middlesex who are making an impact in the local game.
Sarah Coomson and Jessica Johnson are two girls who, despite their young age, have a made a huge impression in a very short amount of time. Aged just 17 and 18, both girls only started playing football just a few years ago but now find themselves coaching, volunteering and working within the beautiful game.
The pair admit they didn’t play much football in school, but when The FA launched the Mash-Up programme (targeting 14-17-year-olds) a few years ago they decided to get involved and, it’s pretty safe to say, they haven’t looked back since. The programme, run by Queens Park Rangers at Paddington Rec, provided an opportunity for both girls to play football in a safe and fun environment alongside a qualified coach.
After enjoying the sessions so much, not only did Jess and Sarah decide to continue playing, but they also became inspired to coach too. They signed up and completed an FA Level 1 in Coaching Football course and now coach the very session that just a few years ago they participated in.
If that wasn’t enough, they are currently working towards their FA Level 2 qualifications as well as undertaking casual coaching work for QPR. Just two months ago, the pair also joined the Middlesex FA Youth Council where they volunteer their time to help raise the profile of women and girls football amongst young people in the County, something they are both looking forward to getting stuck into.
‘I’m really big on girls football and (I’m looking forward to) getting people involved, doing these projects and getting the ideas I have out there to really make it happen.’
'I’m hoping to bring (more awareness) to the world about girls football, starting locally and hopefully getting bigger.’
From just a casual kick about, Jess and Sarah have not only developed a real love for the game but through taking the opportunities available to them, have now forged careers in the game too. Whatever path the girls decide to follow, they both hope to continue their journey in the game and inspire other young girls to begin their own.
‘It’s been a hell of a journey. I’m now playing for a club, I’ve represented England and I’ve started coaching. I just love playing football.’ Sarah Coomson.
The full interview with Sarah and Jess, edited and produced by fellow Youth Council member, Iain Craig, can be found below:
Girls across the UK will be provided with increased opportunities to play football after a new nationwide participation programme was announced.