International Women’s Day: Fern Whelan visits AITC girls session
Former Albion defender Fern Whelan visited the girls at an Albion in the Community coaching session.
In celebration of International Women’s Day we have been featuring some of the women and girls who make Albion in the Community special.
Fern met with Lexi, one of the young girls who loves attending the weekly coaching sessions.
Lexi plays at AITC’s bespoke coaching sessions just for girls, which are funded by the Premier League/PFA Community Fund.
The sessions form part of Albion in the Community’s work to help create a pathway for women and girls in football.
“It really helps me because the coaches all know what I’m capable of so they know exactly what to teach me,” Lexi said.
“It’s amazing because 20 or 30 years ago, girls weren’t really privileged to be footballers, it was all right for boys.
“Even me, I’ve been told that girls won’t play football, but my mum’s always encouraged me to just keep going and don’t let anyone turn you down.”
Fern: “When I started playing there was nothing like this”
Fern said that when she was growing up things were very different for girls in football.
The former England international said that she was one of the only girls who played football when she was growing up, but pathways for girl footballers have improved massively since then.
Fern said: “I can’t stress enough how important the pathway is for females to be able to see where they can go and where they can develop within the game.”
“When I started playing, there was nothing like this. I was only one girl with a whole load of boys. At the time there were a lot more barriers and hopefully now there aren’t as many.”
I can’t stress enough how important the pathway is for females.
The PL/PFA Community Fund has allowed clubs across England and Wales deliver projects responding to local needs for the last 13 years.
“We are trying to recreate the structure the boys have in place,” says Nathan Casselton, AITC’s women and girls development officer, “The Premier League and PFA have been brilliant.
“We’ve definitely seen a massive increase in participation levels. The funding has enabled us to create more sessions across Sussex and to provide more opportunities.”
To find out more about how we’re getting women and girls involved in football, read here: https://albioninthecommunity.org.uk/football-participation/developing-talent/women-girls/