3 July 2023
Football used to be seen as a game exclusively for boys and men in the UK, but thankfully that is changing. Girls can enjoy the game just as much as boys, and the women's game is rising in popularity at a phenomenal rate in the UK. There are many reasons why more girls are taking up football, and they are seeing benefits from playing.
The widely publicised and televised victory by the England women's football team victory in the 2022 European Championships means that girls now have role models in the sport. It’s sparked more conversations about women’s football and encouraged more schools to start girls’ football sessions. This is a huge step forward for gender equality in sports, showing that girls can achieve anything they set their minds to. In the 1920s, women were effectively banned from playing football, and it has taken many decades for women's football to recover.
Girls have more opportunities to play football than ever before. Increasing numbers of schools are offering football as an option for girls and there are more professional teams. In the past, girls who wanted to play football had to make it a hobby rather than a career. Girls can now aspire to be professional players, and there are plenty of opportunities to play the sport at a high level. There are now women's teams in almost every town and city in the UK, and girls are actively encouraged to play. Unfortunately, salaries for female professional footballers are usually far behind those of their male counterparts, but it’s starting to change.
Many boys and adult men play football casually in the park. It doesn’t need a lot of equipment or a specific number of players - you can improvise goal posts, or many parks have them already. Friends can have a kickabout together which is more sociable and fun than going for a run. Girls can benefit from the cardiovascular exercise involved in running around a football pitch and improved strength in their legs. It’s also good for their mental health, with the endorphins from exercise and adrenaline of scoring or saving goals.
Playing football can help girls to develop important life skills such as teamwork, communication, and leadership. It also encourages strategising, both when talking to teammates before the game and while playing, to pass the ball effectively and avoid defenders. These skills will help them both in and out of school. Team sports like football can teach girls the importance of fair play and good sportsmanship and how to handle winning and losing gracefully.
Football is a great way to have fun. It's fast-paced and exciting and all ages and genders can play it. Whether they’re playing on a full team, playing five-a-side or having a kickabout in the park, girls can enjoy the game. Attending matches or watching them on TV with friends and family is fun and exhilarating and kids can pick up tactics while watching the professionals. There's no reason girls shouldn't enjoy the sport just as much as boys.
There are plenty of reasons girls should start playing football, and these are just five. Girls who play football can enjoy the same benefits as boys and develop important life skills.