Tigers JFC, who recently hosted a celebratory festival for over 250 Tigers girls’ players, have been awarded the Weetabix Wildcats Session of the Season for 2022/23!
Tigers JFC have been recognised by the FA for their hard work and dedication in providing opportunities for girls to play football at their weekly Wildcats sessions. They’ve been awarded the Weetabix Wildcats Session of the Season in recognition of the work that the volunteers put in to ensure that young girls have the opportunity to enjoy football in a safe and engaging environment.
Their work was recognised after comments from parents, which helped the FA choose Tigers as their winner. One parent said, “…My daughter's confidence has soared, her fitness has really improved, her football skills have developed …She has loved forming strong friendships.”
Another commented on the family feel that the sessions provide. “… it's like being part of a large family. Great organisation throughout all of the sessions. Makes my children smile every time they go, they have such fun and can't wait to go back.”
Emma Burden, Essex County FA Female Pathway Lead congratulated Tigers on their award. “We are so pleased that Tigers have received this recognition for their Wildcats programme. The club have worked so hard to ensure that they offer a unique, player-centred session each week. They have run festivals throughout the season, the largest Girls Wildcat event, and recently the celebration of Tigers Girls Festival.”
“What’s also inspiring is the chairman and committee are so approachable to support other initiatives. Keith [Tigers JFC Chairman] attended a recent Equal Game Workshop and shared the club’s story, the Futures programme supported the County Women’s Final by being ball girls and the club also recently ran a ‘Stepping Over The Sidelines Workshop’ with the County Champions Yasmin Hussain and Will Fordham. A big thank you from me for all the drive and determination the club show to develop opportunities for all in the local area”.
Tigers JFC recently showed why they were awarded the Wildcats Session of the Season, by hosting a festival that was attended by over 250 girls. The girls spent the morning enjoying their football session and attended a West Ham Ladies last WSL game in the afternoon.
Keith Di Palma, Chairman of the club, was delighted with the festival, which was put on to showcase Tigers’ commitment to women’s and girls’ football. “We held the festival to get all the girl’s teams associated with the club together to showcase the female game and how Tigers JFC fully backs girls’ football at the club.”
Tigers have been providing young girls the opportunity to play and enjoy football for over 20 years. When speaking about how their female pathway began, Keith said “It started with a few siblings of boy’s players at the club that enjoyed kicking a ball around whilst their brothers played matches or took part in training and eventually a few parents decided to start a kick around on a Saturday and it has grown from there.”
The club has received support throughout the last four years from sister club West Ham United Ladies and Keith wants to thank them for their continued support.
“We must mention the support we have received over the last 4 years being linked with the West Ham Ladies team in being a sister club. They have turned up at training sessions and presentation events and have always been supportive within the club in supplying tickets and raffle prizes including special visits for some players to the training ground.”
In addition to their extremely popular Wildcats and Squad Girls sessions, Tigers will be supporting 20 girls’ teams and approximately 300 girls for the upcoming 2023/24 season. When asked what advice Keith would give to other local clubs aspiring to provide opportunities for girls, he said “Stay level-headed and start at the bottom and progress at a slow manageable pace, the players are the main benefactors of anything the club does, so make them feel special.”
“A well-run and organised environment is a happy one, which is key. Remember to always engage the parents on anything you are doing as they may one day be a new team coach”
Congratulations once again to Tigers JFC on winning Weetabix Wildcats Session of the Season! If your club are interested in providing further opportunities to young girls, click below and contact your local Football Development Officer.