Increasing opportunities for women & girls with the largest girls’ football club in the country
Today (27 November 2022) marked the Second Round Proper of the Women’s FA Cup. Already it’s turning into a memorable competition with an upset courtesy of Consett Ladies AFC, and a last second screamer from Lichfield City’s Katie Thornhill to see them through the First Round. This year’s competition is set to be the biggest yet with the women’s and girls’ game projected to reach stratospheric heights following the Lionesses’ Euros success earlier this summer.
Sarina Weigman’s side have inspired thousands to lace up their boots and take to the pitch, maybe for the very first time. One club well ahead of the curve is Berkhamsted Raiders Community Football Club. Founded in 1996, girls’ football is at the heart of the club’s inclusive philosophy. More than 350 girls call Raiders home, making it the largest girls’ football club in the country. In total, Berkhamsted run 94 boys and girls teams as well as Senior, Veterans, Women’s, Futsal, Walking and Inclusive Football sections.
With the help of more than £52.4K investment from the Premier League, The FA and Government, Berkhamsted Raiders CFC have been able to transform their grassroots facilities for the local community to enjoy, as well as expand their offering through use of other nearby Football Foundation-funded facilities.
We sat down with club Trustees, Alison Spencer (Women & Girls representative) and Simeon Bird (Marketing representative), to get their top tips on how to increase access for women & girls and ensure football is for everyone:
Overall, women and girls’ football has seen a huge level of growth in recent years and with the right focus, structures and facilities in place there is every reason to believe that it can continue to grow to match the numbers on the boys side which would be a huge achievement.