Ladies take centre stage

More than 300 girls and young women showed their passion for football by taking part in West Ham United Ladies' annual tournament at the Boleyn Ground.

With so many participants and their parents demonstrating a commitment to the game, the event made a positive statement that the grassroots of women's football are strengthening as they develop. This was emphasised by the co-operative team spirit and high level of technical ability shown by all teams on the day.

West Ham United Ladies manager Tony Marshall said "An event such as this demonstrates that the club's commitment to the development of young local talent is equally applicable to girls as well as boys. Such a prestigious occasion can only help to raise awareness about the continued development, and increasingly high standard of girls' and women's football in the local area."

As part of the event, six female coaches from the West Ham United in the Community trainee and mentoring scheme worked alongside staff from both West Ham United Ladies and local clubs, to provide structured warm-ups and game related coaching. Once fully qualified, these trainees will work with future generations of young women in the local community, providing positive female role models for aspiring players to emulate.

With such an enthusiastic and motivated talent base it will not be long before some of the young girls taking part are following their male counterparts Mark Noble and Freddie Sears by breaking into the Ladies first team. will keep you posted all summer on the latest developments of the Ladies team at all levels and follow their progress next season as they look to build on the tremendous 2007/08 campaign.