More than 16,000 female players took part in FA Girls’ Football Week this month – more than triple the original target.
The FA hoped that more than 5,000 girls and women would take part in football activities throughout the week – which ran from 5-11 October – and was designed to encourage more schools, colleges and universities to run female-specific football sessions.
But with England’s fantastic performance at the Women’s World Cup still fresh in the memory, the number of females to take part in the week was boosted to 16,000 – eight times the number of participants in 2014.
Two of England’s Lionesses, Laura Bassett and Karen Carney, visited Birmingham County FA to meet teenage girls who were taking part in a day of football activity to celebrate the week.
More than 140 girls from 13 local schools and colleges took part in the day which included technical sessions and a football festival.
Laura Bassett said: “It’s been great coming here today and see so many girls enjoying playing football. It’s something as players that we’re really passionate about and we’re happy to support anything that gets more girls playing.
“The number of girls and women taking part this week is really impressive and hopefully we can play our part in inspiring more people to take up football.”
FA director of football participation and development Kelly Simmons said: ““It is fantastic to see so many schools, clubs, universities and colleges putting on sessions across the country and giving girls the chance to play.
“One of our biggest priorities at the FA is increasing female football participation and this week is a great example of how coordinating these efforts and working with our partners can have a huge impact on numbers.
“We hope that everyone enjoys the football they play this week and that it encourages more girls to play football more regularly.”
Girls’ Football Week was delivered in partnership with Independent Schools FA, English Schools FA, Association of Colleges Sport and British Universities and Colleges Sport. This year the programme has been extended to include primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities along with clubs and community groups who are also invited to participate.