Why football for girls is really Flying in Downend

Published on: 02 Jun 2014

downend flyers girls football

THE football season might be over (apart from the little matter of the World Cup) but dozens of keen young players in Downend are keeping up their training throughout the summer.

They are the girls of Downend Flyers, who can be seen practising their skills at Hillhouse playing field in preparation for various six-a-side tournaments.

In the winter, the club runs junior sides in the Bristol Girls League at under 10, under 11, under 14 and under 16.

It hopes to increase involvement at under eight, under nine and under 12 and is in the middle of a recruitment drive for players of all ages.

The club is committed to the Football Association’s football development programme, the charter standard club scheme and the South Gloucestershire sports development programme. All junior coaches are FA qualified and have attended the FA’s child protection and emergency aid courses. There is a Code of Conduct for players, coaches and supporters and a child protection officer.

The girls teams trained at Page Park for many years but have recently had to move after South Gloucestershire Council ruled that they could not practise on marked pitches.

One group that is particularly strong is made up of girls who joined in 2011 from Bromley Heath Junior School and then encouraged friends to join them.

Many of the girls had no sports background, let alone football experience, but they turned up for training week on week.

Their team achieved success but some squad members were never selected for matches, so it was decided to have two teams, Downend and Flyers.

Parent Neil Todd explained that the Flyers had lost all their league games to date bar one draw but had stuck together and reached a turning point at the Thornbury six-a-side tournament this spring, where they beat two teams on the way to the semi-finals, which they lost 1-0. The Downend team won the competition.

“We are determined to keep our 11 girls going and recruit to increase the squad during the summer,” Mr Todd said.

Coach Shaun Fisher was very proud of the girls. “It was a great day for our club, with our under 15s winning their tournament, Downend winning theirs and Flyers also performing exceptionally well. I was delighted for all involved,” he said.

The teams also put up creditable performances at the St Nick’s tournament in Yate.

Mr Todd said: “The Flyers squad held their own with sides that have previously dished out big defeats in both league and tournament fixtures. The effort and commitment shown can only put the Flyers squad in a good place for 2014/15.”

Downend Flyers Girls Football Club was formed by Sue Hiscox in September 1992, at a time when girls playing football was quite rare. Later, when Sue stood down from coaching, Garry Smith coached the team.

The club’s ladies’ team plays in the South West Women’s Football League. They won the South West Eastern Division 1 League in 2011/12 as well as the league and GFA Women’s Cup double.

Sue Hiscox is delighted that so many girls are keen to play football. As well as keeping them healthy, and developing their soccer skills, involvement in the club helps their social skills and builds friendships.

Anyone interested in learning more is asked to ring Sue on 0117 9565400 or Shaun on 07920 289250.

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