A group of young female footballers from West Kirby have followed in the footsteps of England’s national squads by training at their state-of-the-art headquarters.
The under-10 girls from West Kirby United were invited to spend a day at the FA’s national football centre – St George’s Park in Burton-upon-Trent – where they played and were given a tour of the £100 million facility.
Coach Paul Wood said: “We played in one of St George’s Park’s indoor AstroTurf facilities and it was absolutely unbelievable. The condition of the air temperature was perfect for playing football – absolutely superb.
“The England women’s under-20 team were warming down when we went in there. It was very well organised and we had a lot of good fun. The girls thought it was absolutely wonderful and all of them have spoken really positively about it.”
“There’s definitely a heightened interest from all the girls due to the World Cup, so it was well timed and it was nice to see lots of girls football teams there.”
Emily Size, who is nine, said she had a great time: “It was an amazing day that I will never forget.
“I loved playing on the same pitch as my inspiration, Harry Kane.
“We all had lots of fun and got to see the FA Cup.”
West Kirby United is the largest junior football club in the north west and the sixth biggest in the UK, and was formed last year from the merger of West Kirby Wasps and West Kirby Panthers.
It has around 1,000 players – most of them boys – but Paul Wood says the gender balance is gradually shifting and girls will make their presence felt in the future.
He said: “When I was growing up, you never saw girls playing football – they played netball. So it was bizarre for me at first when I came here, but then it just becomes normal and what you’re left with is lots of really nice girls who just want to play football.
“They listen to what you say, they’re a really nice bunch of kids. The parents are really supportive and it creates a really nice environment.
“It’s a medium to long term project, it’s as simple as that. We’ll get there, and in six or seven years we will have a number of teams and be well-established as far as the girls’ game is concerned.”
West Kirby United under-10 girls train at 9am every Sunday at Anglesey Road and Greenbank playing fields, and welcome new members.