THE #LetGirlsPlay Big Football Day was a roaring success at one Suffolk football club.
Hadleigh United FC staged a mini World Cup for young girls on Saturday morning as part of the #LetGirlsPlay Big Football Day.
The event coincided with the England team playing their opening group game at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
After competing in their own tournament, girls watched in the clubhouse as England defeated Haiti 1-0 in Brisbane.
Organiser Matt French said: “The Hadleigh United FC Big Football Day was a fantastic success. We saw more than two dozen girls take part in the mini World Cup, where they had the opportunity to play for different nations.
“There was some great football on display, tight fixtures throughout, with games decided in the last minute. Isabel Chaplin, the Suffolk FA Girls’ & Women’s Football Development Officer, told the girls about her journey in football, with her roots in Hadleigh United FC, before presenting the girls with certificates for the day.
“We then moved to the clubhouse to cheer on the Lionesses down under. There was a great atmosphere and a real community feel.”
French said how important it was to stage events like the one on Saturday and for young girls to have role models to inspire them to follow their dreams.
He said: “Girls should have the same opportunities to play football. It's great to see that the game is moving in the right direction but there's a way to go.
“Events like Big Football Day show that there's no lack of passion for the sport or skill on the field. Girls need to see women role models representing their countries on the biggest stage. They need heroes they can relate to, heroes that they aspire to be, heroes that allow them to dream. Hopefully events like this play a small part in inspiring girls to follow their dreams.”
Suffolk FA Girls’ & Women’s Football Development Officer Isabel Chaplin, who attended the event, said: “It was fantastic to see so many girls playing football and taking part in their own mini World Cup, prior to being able to roar on the Lionesses together in the clubhouse.
“There was some great football on display during their matches and it was a brilliant atmosphere when all of the girls came together to watch England beat Haiti.”