Derbyshire-born Sophie Baggaley inspired over 70 young girls

The England Women’s U20s Goalkeeper visited the Year 3 & 4 children at a Girls’ Football Week event at Outwood Academy Newbold on Thursday 13th October.

Five schools brought a total of 72 girls to the festival which started with a question and answer session with Sophie before moving into FA Skills drills and ending with mini-matches.

Sophie said: “Girls’ Football Week is very important in promoting the game and demonstrating how far it has developed already. Hopefully the popularity of events such as this can help it to grow further.

“When I was little we had to play with the boys if we wanted to play and not many girls were interested. Here you can see 72 girls playing and having fun, showing just how far the female game is progressing.”

“The pathway is there if girls want to play football and progress through the levels. I’d encourage girls to get involved at their local centres and anything can happen from there if you want to go and do it.”

The event, organised by the Chesterfield School Sport Partnership and Derbyshire County FA, was designed to introduce girls aged 7-9 to football in a fun and friendly environment, harnessing the power of Girls’ Football Week.

Molly, playing in her first football festival, said: “It’s so good. I’ve enjoyed playing in the games and taking shots at Sophie!”

Angie Harper, Football Development Officer (Women, Girls and Inclusion) at the Derbyshire County FA, said: “It was great to see so many young girls playing football, many for the first time in a fun, safe environment. Having Sophie down was excellent for the girls to meet a female footballer and learn more about the women’s professional game. We would like to thank Sophie for attending the event and inspiring the girls during Girls Football Week. We look forward to the next one!”

Girls’ Football Week has yet again been a major success both in Derbyshire and nationally. Derbyshire County FA have supported eight events, engaging 361 girls, contributing to over 18,000 female players getting involved across the UK during the week.

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Photo: Chesterfield SSP

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