Late last year, the Football Association suggested that if the whistles were made more pinky and nice smelling bibs were brought on pitch, more girls would be encouraged to play football. This was an announcement that led to many pupils complaining.
The FA posted this guidance on its Sussex website which resulted into the year six pupils at the Lumley Junior School in County Durham writing letters of complaint to the association, reports The Daily Mail.
“We don’t need pink whistles;” wrote one pupil who was supported by another one declaring “girls aren’t brainless Barbie dolls.”
Of course the school’s deputy headmistress – Carol Hughes – wouldn’t remain silent on the matter. She was amused that such a recommendation was still being made at this age and time. She acknowledged that indeed very little is being done to get more girls into football.
“If girls want to try football they will go and play. It’s quite offensive that you need presents, treats and incentives to play football,” said Ms Hughes.
What the guidance suggested
The FA suggested on the girls being given prizes and stamps so that they could remain committed to training sessions and they should be allowed to put on casual clothing in addition to the usage of colorful bibs.
The document went on to advice coaches to use smaller balls because some beginners may be discouraged after they are hit by a heavy ball.
“Let the girls play music in a football session!” Read a section of the paper and be allowed twitter break to enable participants tweet the session.
These may easily go down as rather extreme recommendations but they go a long way in highlighting FA’s desire to have more girls take football as a top sport.
According to Sam Gordon, a 9-year-old girl back in 2012 – whose video playing on a peewee football team went viral within hours of posting – football is a great sport.
“You really have to work as a team”: “[If] one person misses their block, then the whole play falls apart. You have to work so hard — two-hour practices six days a week and you’re doing that for a couple months — to practice one play.”
She adds that the best feeling for her is when a play becomes a success.
Women and girls have not been introduced to football in our era. It is a trend that has been there as far as past the World War. Actually, one league in the 1930s led to a brief national craze.
The USA Football data indicates that as much as 25,000 girls do play football while still youths. However, the participants decline as they join high school.
Football is the most popular high school spot and over 1 million students take part in it but only 2,000 of these are girls. Hope lies in the fact that the number has been increasing when compared to the 2008 – 2009 data which showed only 1,000 girls played.
It is about time we got as many girls as we could to play football. The shift will be critical in eradicating the thought that some tasks are meant just for the boys.