Women's Football Awards

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A new VLUK girls football campus, Inspire, has been nominated for Grassroots Initiative of the Year at The Women’s Football Awards - the biggest celebration of Women’s Football in Europe. The ceremony, which takes place on Thursday 25th May recognises women footballers as well as brands, businesses and organisations making a positive difference to the growth of the game.

Inspire Girls Football (IGF) was founded in 2019 with a clear mission - to inspire, develop and empower female footballers, no matter what their ability, through clear and positive pathways.

IGF Director, Sophie Hollis, says:

“When I was a teenager, I had two completely separate experiences - the first as the only female on a football education programme, and the second on a full football scholarship in America. Being exposed to two such differing projects highlighted the huge void there is in terms of opportunities offered to young female footballers in this country. At IGF, we recognise that girls football is on the rise, and there is more demand for female coaches. Teaming up with VLUK is the perfect platform to help develop the girls both as players on the pitch, and confident, respectful young women off it”.

The VLUK IGF College Programme has a mission to create positive pathways for young females into football, be it playing, coaching, or any other of the vast possibilities that our sport offers. In association with Virtual Learning UK, IGF offers a unique opportunity for girls to gain academic qualifications whilst having access to elite training and coaching facilities. The curriculum is designed to include a variety of subjects within sport, including anatomy and physiology, psychology, coaching and business. Everything implemented into the curriculum has a purpose specifically for the girls. This includes how to prevent ACL injuries, dealing with the effects of the menstrual cycle, or how to implement the FA four corner model whilst coaching.

The learners have access to a specialist environment, giving them everything they need to understand the life of a footballer from bespoke classrooms for their education and match analysis, along with the use of fitness studios, a brand new fully equipped gym and state of the art 4G football pitch available for practical lessons and training. All sessions are taken by female qualified teachers and FA / UEFA coaches , further allowing the holistic nature of the programme to flourish. After all, who else would be better role-models for the young girls?

VLUK Head of Campus, Hannah Cooper says:

“It is well documented that the female drop-out rate in sport is the highest during the teenage years, which coincides with the age where our brains are at their most malleable. Unfortunately, the teenage brain is hardwired to gain peer approval, which results in girls acting to gain acceptance rather than pursuing their football ambitions. By creating an environment where football is embraced, we hope to break down the social and cultural barriers which exist, giving the girls and young women the confidence to flourish.”

IGF offers unique girls only football opportunities. Their female FA/UEFA licensed coaches and their extensive experience in developing girls from both grassroots and the elite pathway, have helped inspire thousands of girls across the country. IGF welcomes any girl into the game regardless of ability. We aim our sessions at the heart of football - grassroots, creating an inclusive environment that inspires girls to flourish, grow and develop.

The 16-19 Education Programme will help achieve this aim. The young women will be the next role models - they will be the ones armed with the knowledge and drive to inspire our mini-lionesses, to develop our daughters in their grassroots teams, and to empower them to have the confidence to become elite.

In the words of Karen Carney “I want the women’s game to be the best - you’ve got to start with the foundations otherwise it will crumble”. And that is the aim of IGF - to help take women’s football to the top, making it the best product possible.

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