Following the Lionesses’ success at the Euros and World Cup, women’s football has seen a surge in popularity. This is reflected at the College with around 40 Lower School girls signing up for football sessions. Here we speak to Director of Football, Andy Parkinson, on his aspirations for girls’ football at the College.
What are your plans for girls’ football?
The aspiration is to grow the girls’ football here in line with its growth nationally. It’s fantastic to see the strides being made in participation and performance, and we’d like to try and mirror that here.
What is the five-year plan?
Charlie Jones was appointed as the Assistant Director of Football in September 2023. He has been tasked with helping with the growth of girls’ football at the College.
It’s about gradual progression as we look at how girls’ football can fit into our programme both here at Epsom and also within the wider provision in other schools. We’re looking at increasing participation and opportunity through the use of Games afternoons post Lent half term and a deeper number of age group teams. At the performance level we entered the ISFA Leagues last year, with potential entry into ISFA Cups and nomination for representative sides.
Talk us through the girls’ training schedule
The girls train once a week in activity sessions through Michaelmas and Lent Terms, and then matches come into the schedule towards the end of Lent Term and through the Summer Term. After February half term, the girls will also get an option to choose football in one of their Games afternoon sessions to replace the hockey option.
Do the girls play competitive fixtures? Or are you building up to this?
Yes, the girls played competitive football fixtures last Summer Term. Both our U13 and U15 teams played in the ISFA Leagues, with the U13s finishing second in their 9 team league. This was a great achievement for their first time in a league and shows real promise for the future.
Pictured: Upper Fourth pupil Keira Johnson who plays for Chelsea FC – an excellent role model for the younger girls as she progresses through the school.