It was whilst sidelined with an injury that talented footballer, Sian, discovered the PL Girls programme. Damage to her ankle during a pre-season game saw Sian have to sit out the start of the season with her Centre of Excellence team, but she’d still tag along to the WHU Foundation PL Girls sessions that her friends were attending to watch them play.
The coach, Katie, noticed that many of the girls would go over to her to ask her advice or to speak to her about football, so Katie offered Sian the opportunity to volunteer. Sian said she wouldn’t know how, and explained that it was frustrating that she couldn’t get involved and play. It was only when Katie explained how volunteering benefitted her own pathway to becoming the captain of a Women’s Premier League side and the Womens and Girls Development Officer at the Foundation that Sian became interested in the opportunity.
WHU Foundation staff worked with Sian to help grow her confidence and develop her leadership skills until she felt comfortable to lead the warm up. She also found her knowledge of the game and her patience improve. In fact, her interest in the coaching side of football grew so much that she enrolled onto an FA Level 1 coaching course and began working towards her Sports Leaders award. Sian also went on to surprise her teachers by volunteering with the school’s U13s team, providing support at her Centre of Excellence, and extended her volunteering as a leader and coach with the WHU Foundation.
Sian asked if she could support the U13’s team and I must admit I was very shocked as she was very shy and never asked such a question. Sian then explained she wanted to support the team who will be playing in the U13’s PL Schools tournament as she believed she could help them. This will be the first time we also take an older student as part of our support staff. The WHU Foundation session has really made her come out of her shell
Jo Higson, Sian's PE teacher
WHU Foundation deliver innovative sessions to provide opportunities for girls aged 11 and over to take part in football in a community setting and aim to:
- Increase the number of women and girls playing football on a regular basis
- Increase the opportunities for women and girls to develop skills and confidence and progress within the pathway as a player, coach or official
Participants who want to progress in the game have the opportunity to progress via the West Ham United Ladies pathway.
PL Girls is overseen by Karen Ray, former captain and current first-team coach of West Ham United Ladies.
To find out more about WHU Foundation's PL Girls sessions, please contact:
Karen Ray; Women and Girls Manager