As part of the 150th year celebrations The FA have joined forces with The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation to produce ‘Kick Off Your Career’.
The document is aimed at girls who love football to encourage them to consider a career in the industry by reading the stories of 20 female football pioneers who have played the game and now work within football.
The interviewees come from across the sport in careers as diverse as medicine, coaching, administration and media. They include journalist Jacqui Oatley, Football Lawyer Liz Ellen MP Tracey Crouch, England Team Doctor Pippa Bennett, England footballer Kelly Smith, Premier League Head of Governance Jane Purdon, and FA Coaches Hope Powell, Marieanne Spacey and Abbie Sadler.
The message for girls is clear: ‘It’s your game too, come and join the team.’
Research carried out by WSFF in 2012 identified a perception amongst teenage girls that participating in sport “won’t get them anywhere” and is less valuable to their future. The research found that over half of all boys and girls agree that there are more opportunities for boys to succeed in sport than girls.
This publication aims to help change that perception by highlighting the experiences and achievements of twenty women who have forged themselves a career within the industry and show girls how to get involved.
FA General Secretary Alex Horne said:
“We have achieved a lot in terms of developing women’s football in the past twenty years but know that we are only really starting this work. Through Game Changer - our 5 year plan for women’s football launched last October – we will develop more players, raise standards and help make the game more financially sustainable.
“’Kick Off Your Career’ is part of that plan to increase women in all parts of the industry and shows how on our twentieth anniversary we are firmly looking forward and that women’s football is a cornerstone of the next phase of The FA’s development.”
Kelly Simmons, FA Director of Women’s Football and National Game explained:
“These stories offer a fascinating insight into how the game has progressed in a very short time. I was at The FA when we took over in 1993 and in the past twenty years I am proud that we have grown the game at all levels. The Women’s Football Association did an incredible job to create a game in England, and the resources that The FA has been able to invest has meant that we are now the top female team sport in England, have a semi-professional league and a highly competitive England set up. We want girls who love football to read this document and truly know they can have a career in our national game.”
Sue Tibballs, Chief Executive of the WSFF said;
“At WSFF we passionately believe that women should have the support and opportunity to pursue the career of their choice. These inspiring stories show girls that football is an industry where women can succeed at the highest levels and in a variety of roles. Female leadership in sport is something that WSFF campaigns hard for and I truly believe that encouraging more girls to pursue careers in football – from coaching to journalism to management – will improve the game for women.”
Anna Kessel, Co-Founder and Chair of Women in Football said; "Women in Football are thrilled that the FA have chosen to celebrate these inspiring women for their passion and determination in pursuing a career in our national game. At WiF, we want to make it possible for all women to access a diverse number of careers in the industry. From pitchside to the boardroom, we believe that talented women have a role to play in every single area of the beautiful game. Our extensive network exists for this very reason - to encourage, support and mentor peers and the next generation, and to help women forge exciting and rewarding careers in football. "
The FA150 calendar of activity has placed women’s football firmly at the heart of events from the England Awards in February (where England women won ‘Team of the Year’) and the UEFA Women’s Champions League at Stamford Bridge in May to England women in their Euros from 10-28 July. The FA Women’s Awards on 22 November will celebrate the 20 years of running the game and recognise the work of the Women’s Football Association from 1969-93. Finally, the FA150 year of celebration and participation culminates with The FA hosting the prestigious UEFA Women’s Under-17 Finals in venues around St. Georges Park from 26 November - 8 December.
The ‘Kick off Your Career’ document is available as a PDF and will be distributed to all schools, colleges and universities throughout England. The FA will also be distributing hard copies and to our key partners and all girls who play the game.