A Leicestershire girls football club that has more than 180 players on its books is appealing for help to find a permanent home following a new surge of interest prompted by the current World Cup.
East Goscote United (Girls and Women) Football Club was founded 11 years ago and has grown to run 10 different age group teams from age four upwards, but is struggling to find nearby pitches on which to play, with facilities often claimed by more established boys sides.
Darren Foster, chair, explained that the success of the current tournament in Australia and New Zealand was putting more and more pressure on the club to simply find places to play.
“We’ve been gradually developing the club for a decade or more but when big tournaments happen – such the Lionesses winning the Euros last year at Wembley – we see a lot of girls take an interest in the game for the first time and join the club. Something similar is happening this summer with the World Cup.
“On the one hand, it’s great. We know from experience that once someone shows interest, the vast majority stay with us for years and it’s a joy to see their desire to learn and the fun they have but on the other hand, it does create issues because it’s not easy to find pitches on which to play, especially within easy reach of our part of Leicestershire.
“We often find that the best local pitches are used by well-established boys’ teams. Now, there is nothing wrong with that and we don’t want to create a girls versus boys situation, but it is very much the case that longstanding arrangements are often in place for boys clubs that sometimes don’t have anything like the number of players that we are attracting.”
Simon Riley, founder of the club, added that if the club was given or was able to buy a piece of land, it could establish a permanent base on which all of its sides could train and play.
“If we were able to get a commitment of this kind – and we realise it is a very big ask – then we would be able to accommodate everyone who wants to get involved and meet the kind of interest in football that we are seeing from girls.
“Also, if we had a piece of land, we should be able to potentially access external help from organisations that support the development of grass roots football, very much placing us on the next level.
“We’re very keen to hear from anyone who may be able to help us directly or who has any ideas. We have a lot of girls who want to play football and sometimes not enough facilities for them all to do so successfully.”
For more information, contact Simon on: 07903 378614