Sports charities say that the England Lionesses’ success in the Women’s World Cup will inspire a new generation of young footballers and ‘ignite’ their passion for the game.
Ahead of the semi-final between the England and US women’s teams tonight, charities and sports organisations said the Women’s World Cup would inspire the female football stars of the future.
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The Youth Sport Trust charity has created free resources for schools to use to celebrate the Women’s World Cup, with one school in Cornwall, St Breock Primary School, allowing YST to build an 18-tonne sand sculpture in their playground to highlight women’s football.
Ellen Falkner, development manager for Girls Football Programmes at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “There is a real momentum building around the women’s game with more sponsorship and better media coverage.”
“The FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 is a brilliant opportunity to use the power of a major sporting event to inspire young people and ignite their passion for football, celebrate the women’s game, and give the Lionesses our full backing.”
“It has been fantastic to see how schools across the country have been using the free resources we have developed with The FA to engage and celebrate the World Cup.”
“Following the World Cup in partnership with The FA we have our National Girls’ Football Youth Leadership Camp coming up where we will be looking to capitalise on the momentum to create our next generation of female leaders and volunteers who will be tasked with providing opportunities back in their school to increase the number of girls having the opportunity to access football.”
Sue Wilkinson, chief executive of the Association for Physical Education, said the Lionesses were brilliant role models for pupils.
“They are wonderful role models for women’s and girl’s sport,” Ms Wilkinson said.
“They are clearly motivating girls and women all over the country to get involved with football as well as the wider aspects of physical activity. The whole team is an inspiration demonstrating a can do and a positive attitude to the game.”
“In addition, the quality play of their play has been exceptional. Well done from afPE to the team, Phil Neville and the backroom staff.”
Kate Dale, Sport England’s lead for the This Girl Can campaign said: “The Women’s World Cup has received an unprecedented level of coverage with the Lionesses in the papers and on TV screens across the nation."
"It sends out the message to women and girls that football – and sport and physical activity in general – is for everyone."
“With the World Cup we’ve seen real women doing incredible things with their bodies who don’t care what they look like or how sweaty they are. It’s a powerful message for young girls in this Instagram era, and one we’ve been getting across with our This Girl Can campaign – which also says it doesn’t matter how good you are, the important thing is that you’re doing something."
“For inspiration to be turned into action the right opportunities must be in place, with girls given the same opportunities as boys at school in what sports and activity they’re offered.
“It’s so important because our research is still showing there’s a gender gap with girls and women less likely to be active. It’s not right that they’re missing out on the health benefits for their physical and mental wellbeing. "
“Our new Active Lives Children’s Survey – of over 130,000 children – revealed that the biggest motivator in getting children active is enjoyment, over knowing it’s good for them or being competent.
“So there’s an opportunity for all schools to focus on enjoyment and fun to help children develop more positive attitude towards physical activity. At Sport England we’re working at the heart of the upcoming School Sport Action Plan to embed these learnings, and they also form the basis of the free training we’re currently offering to all secondary school PE teachers."