THE success of this season’s girls football festivals will provide the foundation for a thriving women’s game in the future, insisted organiser Paul Inns this week.
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) accredited coach and Welsh Football Grassroots Impact award winner has been delighted with the turn-out of the Berriew Girls Club hub launch last month and last weekend’s record breaking festival in Newtown.
Inns insisted only through continued festivals throughout the region would the game prosper in the future.
Inns said: “A lot of work is being done, and needs to be done over the next couple of years in particular, to increase participation in the female game.
“The Central Wales Football Association (CWFA) is trying to address this by appointing hub clubs which will be funded by the association and FAW Trust with the aim of increasing player numbers.
“As a hub club, Berriew have already held a number of taster sessions which have seen an average of 16 girls attending each session. Many will now register with the club and be incorporated into our training structure which provides for girls only coaching sessions.
“We have also held two girls only mini festivals for seven to 16 year olds and continue to run teams at under 10, 12, 14 and 16 level.”
Inns insisted the next target would be to establish a regional seven-a-side league with the overall aim to re-establish a senior full sided league in Powys.
The region used to have a thriving senior set-up but the North Powys League became defunct two years ago with only Llanfair United and Llanidloes Town remaining to represent the area in the North Wales League.
Inns said: “Once player numbers increase I would hope we could start a local seven-a-side league.
“However the long term aim must be to have our own 11 a side competitive league in this area feeding into the Welsh Premier League.
“While that may be a little while off yet, I genuinely believe that the foundations are being laid to ensure the future success of women’s football in the area and to provide a sustainable legacy for the future.”
Plans are now being made to host further girls football festivals at different Mid Wales clubs throughout the season.
See full story in the County Times