On Tuesday 10th October at LVS Ascot School, ISA Sport held the 2nd National Girls Football Festival. Inspired by The FA’s National Girls Football Week, this event contributed to the NGB’s aim to double girls’ participation in football. The event itself has achieved this with almost 400 girls taking part across three different age groups, 46 teams and 29 different schools. The event also attracted schools from all seven ISA regions which proves the popularity of the sport and the great work that ISA schools are currently doing to ensure that their girls are inspired to continue playing the great game of football.
Organised by LVS Ascot, the day was designed to encourage participation and whilst there was competition, there were many other opportunities for the girls. We were delighted to welcome Arsenal Women to the event who provided a fun coaching masterclass in between matches. Arsenal also invited World Cup winner and Olympic gold medallist, Heather O’Reilly to attend the event and meet all the girls. England Lionesses Jade Moore and Jo Potter joined Heather, all three of which are outstanding role models for young women in schools.
To add further excitement, each school was given tickets to an Arsenal home fixture and this particularly pleases one member of ISA Sport that there will now be 400 more girls cheering on the Gunners! Thanks, must go to Squad in Touch, who provided each girl with event goodie bags and Bootchamp who were generous in awarding bespoke boot cleaning kits to all winning teams. And, just to add a cherry on the cake, the women’s FA Cup made another appearance, accompanied by some very approachable security guards, it was photo opportunities only! Unfortunately, despite many protests, the winners weren’t being awarded with this trophy!
As well as the above, there was of course three tournaments to take care of and there really was some brilliant football being played. The girls exemplified the joyful attitude that is abundant throughout ISA schools and the level of skill that was on display was worthy of great praise. In the Under 11 tournaments, each match was tightly contested but it was St Mary’s, Bucks and Southbank Kensington that edged through the groups to compete in the final. Both teams were deserved finalists but after a high-quality match, it was the London based team, Southbank who emerged as victors. Malvern St James were also excellent in securing 3rd place, narrowly beating Alton School who finished 4th overall.
The Under 13 and Under 15 tournaments, played on grass attracted many talented individual footballers and well coached teams. The matches were close and the groups were undecided until the final few matches. Eventually three teams in the U13s proved the strongest and were awarded with medals for the top three placings. Ballard School were victorious, closely followed by Red House and St James Senior Girls in third place.
In the oldest age group of the day, the Under 15s was a delight to watch and there were many players who will undoubtedly play at a high level very soon. Simply watching their warm ups, countless kick ups, extraordinary tricks and endless showboating left many spectators in admiration. Once the tournament reached the knockout phases, the final was played between hosts LVS Ascot and the ever impressing Meoncross. In a tightly fought affair, neither team could be separated so the title was decided by a cruel penalty shootout. It was Meoncross who showed their steel to clinch victory and become the U15 champions. Red House completed a successful day by clinching third place and travelled back to Stockton-on-Tees a happy bunch.
ISA Sport thanks everyone for their continued support of this event and girls football. We endeavour to inspire young women to remain active and continue playing football. See you all next year!
Here are the final placings GIRLS FOOTBALL FESTIVAL 2017 RESULTS