Shrewsbury Town in the Community’s girls football programmes have been continuing to progress this year, according to Girls and Women’s Football Officer Peter Wilson.
The Community run a number of programmes designed to offer more opportunities into football to girls and women, three of which being Premier League Girls, SSE Wildcats and their Regional Talent Club.
The Premier League Girls programme was implemented in partnership with the Football Association across almost 90 Premier League and Football League clubs, with the aim of increasing the number of women and girls playing football on a regular basis.
Speaking of the strides forward the programme has made, Wilson said: “We have been going from strength to strength. In terms of the Premier League Girls, the girls we’ve been going in to schools to work with, it’s been very, very pleasing.
“One in fact, from one of the schools has now signed for our Regional Talent Club which is fantastic news.
“She’s never played for a grassroots team before, she had some exceptional talent but never knew where to go.
“It’s proved the programme works because that’s what it’s there for.
“It’s to give these girls their first opportunity, we were just lucky enough that one of the girls had a lot of talent and ability that can aid us going forward as a programme.”
The Wildcats Mini Soccer Centre for girls has been set up in both Shrewsbury and Ludlow designed to inspire girls aged 5-11 to be involved in football.
Launched by the Football Association in partnership with SSE, the programme provides girls with regular opportunities to play football and take part in organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment created exclusively for girls.
It has been an instant success with Shrewsbury Town in the Community, with Wilson adding: “In terms of our Wildcats, the session in Shrewsbury keeps growing in numbers and our Ludlow one just boomed from the off.
“We hit our targets on week one and from there it’s just kept on growing.
“It’s great for down there (Ludlow) because there are no girls teams, unless you go to Hereford or you come up to Shrewsbury which is half an hour either way so it’s brilliant to have that.”
In the summer of 2016 Shrewsbury Town became of 32 centres to host a Regional Talent Club.
Representing Shrewsbury Town, age groups from the under 12’s to under 16’s compete against the likes of West Brom, Birmingham City and Aston Villa on a regular basis.
With 50 girls attending trials last summer, this season the bar has been set higher, and Wilson is confident that the players brought in will take Town to the next level.
“Finally our Regional Talent Club, we’ve done very well on recruitment this year with some of the players we’ve brought in,” said Wilson.
“Some have got international experience and have been at training camps with their respective countries.
“We’ve had our inaugural year, we’re now going to grow and we’re going to compete at a much higher level and really challenge everyone around us.
“I think that’s what the programme is about and what it needs to put Shrewsbury Town on the map as one of the elite centres in the country.
“And not just that, but one that is competing at the top as well against the Super League clubs.”