Olympics and Euros Will Boost Weetabix Wildcats Sign-Ups
Team GB and the Lionesses Will Inspire New Female Footballers
Now is the perfect time to seek out your local Weetabix Wildcats provider according to Essex County FA Development Officer, Emma Burden, who wants to capitalise on the positive performances of the Team GB squad at the Tokyo Olympics.
Weetabix Wildcats is non-competitive football for girls who want to give it a go for the very first time or want to play with other girls their own age. Most importantly, Weetabix Wildcats is all about having fun and meeting new friends. The programme is key in giving the girls a positive start in football but also ensuring opportunities are localised and accessible to all.
The Essex County FA ‘Moving Forward’ Strategy set out to increase the number of female participants to 5,104 by the end of 2021. The ‘baseline’ is currently at 5,348 female players, meaning that target has been exceeded. The County FA were also tasked with establishing 115 Weetabix Wildcats providers by the end of 2021.
This target was reviewed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the national focus was on retention. Out of 88 licenses throughout the county, 59 of those providers are visible on the FA Events Platform and delivering weekly sessions. The aim is to get those 29 remaining providers delivering, or to redistribute those licenses.
Emma thinks the Olympics will inspire new female players to discover the game: “Are you a girl and you think you might want to give football a try? Weetabix Wildcats sessions are just for you! It’s a great time to get involved in the game with the Tokyo Olympics now underway, and the GB Women’s Team having a great chance of really putting on a show for audiences.”
“We also have the Women’s Euros taking place in this country next summer and early tickets went on sale recently through the UEFA website. This can also inspire new Wildcats, as sessions are targeted at ‘the beginner girl’ aged 5-11 who is just starting out on her football journey. They feature fun games which introduce girls to playing with a football.”
“These include anything from tag, ABC and invasion games involving a ball to mini matches. Most ball games link into a theme such as a movie like The Incredibles, Moana, Wish Dragon, Minions, Peter Rabbit or female superheroes to capture the girls’ imaginations.”
“The Wildcats sessions have been successful so far. I think, since the lockdowns when we were stuck inside and sport was put on hold, there has been an increase in many providers. The recent success with the men’s Euros has also encouraged girls to get involved and search for their nearest club. In April, The FA announced Weetabix were the new sponsors of the programme… which is huge!”
“They are promoting the Wildcats programme on the side of their cereal boxes, so parents looking for football opportunities for girls can use the link and find their nearest provider simply by putting their postcode into the search engine. That’s why it’s so important that providers use The FA Events Platform and make sure all their details are up-to-date.”
Group One (Braintree, Colchester, Maldon, Tendring): Beacon Hill Rovers, Community Iron, Essex Professional Coaching, FC Clacton, FITC Academy, Great Bradfords, Hatfield Peverel, Heybridge Swifts, Kirby Athletic, Ramsey & Mistley, Stanway Rovers, Valley Green
Group Two (Brentwood, Chelmsford, Epping Forest, Harlow, Uttlesford): Baddow Spartak, Brentwood Youth, Broomfield, Buckhurst Hill, Chelmsford City, Chigwell, Epping Youth, Fyfield Sports Academy, Galleywood Youth, Great Danes, Hutton, i9 Academy, Little Canfield Stars, Runwell Sports, Saffron Walden PSG, South Woodham Ferrers United, Springfield, Stones Athletic Girls, Town Mead Wildcats, Woodham Radars, Writtle Minors Girls
Group Three (Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock): Academy Soccer, Aveley, Catholic United, Corringham Cosmos, Essex EPD, FC Redwing, Grays Athletic, Hawkwell Athletic, Island Girls, Junior Red Star, Perry Street Girls, Rayleigh Girls, Rochford Town Sports & Social Club, Trinity
Group Four (Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Waltham Forest): Barkingside, Byron Red Star, Frenford Clubs, Hornchurch Urchins, Jets, Newham Sports, Ridgeway Rovers, Tigers, West Essex