More than 300 girls from 33 clubs will take part in a special FA Girls’ Football Festival brought by Continental Tyres, at Wembley Powerleague before Sunday’s match.The players have all started playing football in the past year through the FA’s Women’s and Girls’ Programme, which is run in partnership with Sport England, the Premier League and the Football League Trust.
The event is the latest in a series of FA Girls’ Football Festivals, run in partnership with Continental Tyres to encourage more girls to try out football. More than 8,000 girls, aged between 5 and 16, have taken part in the festivals in 2014.
The participating U16 teams have been specially invited by the Premier League and Football League Trust and will take part in a special 5-a-side tournament. The clubs have all delivered sessions as part of the scheme, which has welcomed almost 21,000 young women into football since October 2013.
Injured England and Notts County defender Sophie Bradley will be attending the festival, meeting and playing with the girls. Female referee ambassadors Brittany Smith and Natasha Wilson will be delivering a referee workshop while Charlotte Lade-Rogers will be delivering a freestyle workshop.
The teams will also get to test their skills and reflexes on special Batak Boards, a speed cage and an inflatable target shoot.
It is the last FA Girls’ Football Festival of the year and is set to be one of the biggest yet with teams travelling from as far away as Preston, Middlesbrough and Exeter to compete in their own matches, before cheering on England’s Lionesses for the first time ever at the new Wembley Stadium.
To add to the enhanced fan experience, there will also be music, hair braiding and face painting, all of which will take place outside the stadium before kick-off. In addition to this, the girls will have the chance to have their picture taken with the Premier League Trophy. The festival starts at 09:45am.
Sophie Bradley said: “It’s great to come to events like these and meet girls who really enjoying playing football. The Football Festivals are a good way to get young people to try playing football and see what it is we love about the game.”
Peter Robb, Marketing Communications Manager at Continental Tyres, said: “The match is set to be a great family occasion, showcasing top class women’s football, as well as offering supporters the opportunity to take part in the interactive festival and coaches the chance to enhance their knowledge through The ContiWarmUp Programme.
Nicol Meredith, National Women's and Girls' Football Project Co-ordinator with The Football League Trust, comments “Some of the girls in our teams hadn’t kicked a ball before they started on the programme earlier this year and now they are playing at Wembley before the historic first ever women’s fixture at the stadium. Although they are not playing in the stadium, I’m sure in years to come, some of them will be telling their grandchildren they played at Wembley.”