We know that some girls won’t have played much before, others have been kicking a ball about since they could walk and there will be a whole host somewhere in between. We are lucky though because we are generally able to find the right level for everyone to develop at and with a small army of FA qualified coaches from level 1 through to UEFA B, as well as qualified goal keeping coaches, we are able to keep them developing.
One of the things we are very proud of is the number of ex-players we have helping out with sessions, helping out with an age group or even running a team! We are planning for todays players to be the coaches of tomorrow, we also encourage existing players to undertake reffing exams so they can explore other ways of supporting the game as they mature.
Every team has a rep at our players council, the players council is another way that we try to ensure the club is delivering for its most important members.
This is where it all begins. Neither parents or players typically realise the journey they are beginning and the lifelong friendships they are laying the foundations for.
We welcome girls from reception upwards to these fun filled sessions. We don’t worry about fancy tactics or impassioned half time talks – the time the girls spend here are all about the FUNdamentals of the game. Lots of touches of the ball and embedding the necessary skills for the girls to build a platform for the seasons to come.
In our experience once girls discover the joys of football they tend to stick around, we aim for these sessions to be an opportunity to for girls to dip their toes in. If they come every week without fail or once a month when none of their friends are online we are just as happy to see them.
The girls don’t need a lot of equipment to start but they will need to wear shin pads, the slip-in kind going into long socks tend to be the most popular with the girls which is lucky as they’re also the cheapest!
No offsides, 5 a side, small pitches and lots of little games are all there to helpthe girls develop the tools to really play the game well. Girls can start playing for this age group from 7 years old so some could be in this age group for 2 years.
If girls come to us through schools, Surrey Youth Games, Wildcats or stumbled on to us whilst looking for Pokémon we don’t care this age group is all about football and fun.
Girls are normally starting year 5 when they start U10s. They are moving to 7 a side from 5 a side so things are hotting up a bit. The balls go up to size 4 and the pitches and goals get a little bit bigger.
Lots of girls are still coming to the game and we find that they are still at an age where they learn very quickly so there’s still plenty of time.
We still focus on lots of football and lots of touches of the ball, there’s lots of individual technique to develop and we also start to get the girls to explore the different roles on the pitch and what they may like.
This is the second year the girls might have played 7 a side and this is still very much developmental football for lots of our girls – which is just as well as we still recruit lots of new girls to the game at this age.
There is no age at which the focus moves away from girls enjoying the game bu† it is around this age that some girls will start to expect to learn more from training and take a bit more responsibility for their learning. The harder they try – the more they will learn.
The first year of secondary school and the next big step through development football. This is the first season of 9 a side, same size ball but a slightly bigger goal and a bigger pitch. With the move towards bigger squads we are almost always looking to recruit new girls, we have formed entire new teams at this age group so there’s definitely girls out there still coming to the game at this age – which would be unheard of in the boys game.
Girls are getting bigger and stronger so stretching is more important, as is fitness with the bigger pitches. Positions and roles are starting to edge towards their 11 a side equivalent, offside comes into play and tactics start playing a bigger role. Teams that have been getting success with big kicks and rushing up the pitch start to find things harder and MVG teams with their focus on good technique start developing the rivalries that make this such a great area for girls football.
Yup…..teens. Its the second year of 9-a-side so the girls should start knowing what they’re all about. This is also the second year that leagues will be published so the girls know who is on a par with them and who their bogey teams are. We work hard to ensure the girls and parents are focussing on the performance rather than just the result. We also try and maintain coaching principles and practices such as positive reinforcement and guided learning. This can be very important because it can give the girls a positive focus at a time that can be quite challenging.
We start planning for next year as well when squads will need to grow to their maximum size in order to accommodate 11-a-side football. We continue to recruit brand new girls to the game, even at this age, so we have to make sure that everyones developmental needs are met.
And so it begins, 11-a-side. Even though we are still recruiting new girls at this age we are also in a position where we are doing what we can to stabilise the girls in a consistent team shape. We will normally give each player two or three positions to explore so she can start honing her art. The patterns of play that the girls will observe at 11-a-side will educate their whole playing career. Every training session is geared to ensure girls technical development whilst also giving the girls as much game realistic practice as we can fit in.Since the girls started playing we have been working on implementing the fundamental principles of football – compact in defence, expansive in attack. We can see the girls playing a lovely possession based game when they are focussed and although these passages rarely last a whole game its at this age we can see hints of what is to come.
Where and when we train and play
Training nights are Fridays from 6 to7 at KGV in the summer months and Meadowbank Stadium in the winter months. We play on Sundays at one of the 11-a-side pitches either Brockham, Meadowbank Recreation Ground or Kingston Road.
Whilst not exactly old hands the girls have go† a good idea of wha† is expected of them and how they can deliver good performances no matter who the opposition. The key is all in managing the transition having won the ball back or having just lost possession. To do this the girls have to be clear about their role, be composed and have the technical ability and tactical awareness to do what is required.
We do still recruit new girls but normally any new girls will have played before. This is around the age that we expect girls to think about specialising, having said that it’s not uncommon for our girls to carry on playing a range of sports at a regional and national level.
Where and when we train and play
Training nights are Fridays from 7 to 8 at KGV in the summer months and Meadowbank Stadium in the winter months. We play on Sundays at one of the 11-a-side pitches either Brockham, Meadowbank Recreation Ground or Kingston Road.
GCSEs, nights out & all the rest don’t seem to compete with the excellent football the girls produce by the time they get to this age group. Positions are firmly established and many of the girls represent Surrey for the last time. We still do a bit on technical work but our focus is mostly on matchplay and decision making. The teams focus on dominating transitions, developing rapid attacking opportunities or disrupting and destroying opposition scoring chances.
Where and when we train and playTraining nights are Fridays from 5 to 6 at KGV in the summer months and Meadowbank Stadium in the winter months. We play on Sundays at one of the 11-a-side pitches either Brockham, Meadowbank Recreation Ground or Kingston Road.
This is the last year of youth football, girls can play from U16, U17 and U18 so there can be quite a difference in age groups. What we find though is that once girls have been with each other for this long they want to stay in the same team which is just fine by us.
A levels, college, university…life, its all here or hereabouts. We’ve been on an amazing journey and the families and friendships that have grown together in that time will live on through sport. Lots done, lots still to do…..
Where and when we train and play
Training nights are Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7 at KGV in the summer months and Therfield in the winter months. We play on Sundays at one of the 11-a-side pitches either Brockham, Meadowbank Recreation Ground or Kingston Road.
This is the absolute apex of our club, the pinnacle of achievement for our players, many of whom will have been with the club for over 10 years. We look to our Womens team to be the role models for all our younger players. Playing with grace, dignity, pride, integrity and passion our Womens team incorporates players who have gone to university and come back as well as some who never stopped and players from further afield.
The first team plays as part of the South East County Womens League, we also have a reserve team and we run recreational development sessions to ensure no-one misses out on the opportunity for a laugh.