How to set-up a thriving female football team from scratch
Women and Girls
16 January 2019

How to set-up a thriving female football team from scratch

Here St Florence Girls AFC share details of what they did and where they got help.

Our aim to get thousands more girls playing football in Wales needs amazing clubs like St Florence Girls AFC to drive our ambition forward.

The tiny West Wales village club, who started their girls’ section from scratch, are now the proud holders of our FAW McDonald’s Grassroots Project of the Year award.

Now the well established girls’ club is going from strength to strength but taking that initial leap of faith didn’t come without its moments of jeopardy.

Coach Geraint Jones said: “It started with one of our coaches running Fun Football sessions in Tenby, just to get girls interested. That slowly grew from three or four girls to six or seven but there was no team in the area for them to play for.”

Geraint, whose daughter was one of those girls without a club, put his hand-up to help set-up a St Florence team.

He said: “When we arrived to set-up the first session, we had no idea whether anybody was actually going to turn-up. But nearly 40 girls turned-up on that first day.

“At that point, we thought, yes, we’ve done the right thing.”

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“Girls are interested in make-up, Youtube, music but they’ll put on their boots on a Sunday morning and play for an hour and a half in the wind and rain. It’s brilliant.”

– Julie Jones, Parent

But a lot of work went in behind-the-scenes to create that exciting moment.

Secretary Kelly Thomas said: “After we first agreed to set-up a team, I approached the Pembrokeshire Junior League to get advice on how to get started.”

The league advised them to put on taster sessions and generate interest by promoting them in local schools, while St Florence Community Council gave permission to transform a disused field into a pitch for the girls to play on. They also donated the money required to cover the club’s insurance.

Once a home was secured, Kelly followed the league’s advice and set about spreading the word that female football was coming to St Florence.

She said: “We went around the schools with posters and to talk to girls who were interested in coming to our taster sessions. We told them we were very much an inclusive club and no matter what their ability, everyone who came along would get to play.”

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“When you start something from scratch it’s very difficult because you’ve got to get the spirit and culture right. You need volunteers and systems in place but they’ve got it bang on. It’s very inclusive.”

– Matthew Evans, Parent

That philosophy has served the club well and it continues to attract girls with a range of different backgrounds.

Kelly added: “There are games week in, week out, but there’s still no picking of the squad.

“I’ve seen girls grow in confidence, develop their social skills and become very much a part of their teams. We have children on the autistic spectrum, as well as ADHD and other medical conditions like allergies and epilepsy.

“Seeing them able to participate in the sport they love is just fantastic.”

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW WE'RE DEVELOPING GIRLS' FOOTBALL IN WALES