It was about this time last year when I first heard the whispers around our Club that the Club was looking to introduce a girls only football team. Like most people, I was aware that the profile for women’s football was rising, largely due to the success of the women’s national team. All the women in my family are massive football fans including my daughter who had alway wanted to play for a football team.
Dukinfield Tigers received some funding from Sport England with the aim of holding on to U14s players and starting a new girls team. The first step was to search for volunteers to coach a girls training session indoors at Astley each week with the hope of starting the first girls football team in Dukinfield. Unfortunately, after a number of weeks, no one had come forward and after some intense pressure from my daughter and a number of drinks one evening, I decided I would get in touch with our Chairman and offer my help. Initially the plan was to step in until other volunteers came forward as I was currently quite busy jointly coaching the Tigers U14s boys team…
Our first drop-in training session started the following week with 8 girls attending. The following week we went up to 10 and within the next couple of months we had over 20 girls coming from all over Tameside. The girls varied from school Year 2 up to Year 8 and turned up week in and week out. During the summer we entered two teams into a summer football tournament one at U10s and one at U11s. The day was a great success and it gave the girls their first taste of competitive football.
We knew at this point the next step for the Club was to register our first ever girls football team and I’m pretty sure it was the first ever girls football team in Dukinfield. We joined the North Manchester Girls Football League at the start of the season in the U12s category. The club supplied the girls brand new kits and training tops for the start of the season which brought massive joy to the girls having their own kits and squad numbers.
12 months have now passed and I am still coaching the girls and having so much fun doing so. We now have two coaches coaching the girls and we will be entering a second team in to the league at the start of next season. The girls are going from strength to strength and I’d strongly advise any girls looking to get into football to come and have a look Dukinfield Tigers. I’d also recommend to any parent or volunteers out there to get involved: you’ll be so surprised at how much enjoyment you get from making so many youngsters happy.
This Tiger Tale was written by Nick Hartigan. Nick is the Girls U12s and Boys U15s Coach. His daughter plays in the girls U12s team.
He can be contacted on 07498 771854 or firstname.lastname@example.org