The girls football section of Marlborough Youth FC (MYFC ‘Angels’) began in the Spring of 2014. It started when Natalie Davidson asked her Dad (Jon Davidson) if they could set up a girls football team. Jon was already a volunteer at MYFC so just one week later, Natalie and her Year 6 friends attended the first ‘girls only’ football session in College fields in Marlborough. The Angels were born!
After a win in their very first tournament, and supported by Alex Muse (Sports Development Officer East), MYFC sought and received funding from Wiltshire Council to run a 6 week pilot for girls football. The pilot went amazingly well with c.70 girls attending and the Angels’ birth and development were principal among the reasons Marlborough Youth FC was voted Wiltshire Sports Club of the Year in 2014.
Alas, despite this remarkable start numbers fell and in 2015, new chairman Stu Slater was not prepared to let the girls section disappear. With interim solutions, club funding and numerous attempts to keep the girls playing, these endeavours culminated in the recruitment of the inimitable Becky Knox and John Whitehead. Becky was a PE teacher by trade and quickly climbed the coaching ladder; John a keen parent and remains to this day a peerless admin guru! After many coffee meetings, they put their heads together and devised a plan with the help of Tim Hall (Girls Development Officer at Wiltshire FA) creating strong arrangements for MYFC to be able to provide girls football and be capable of sustainable growth
Numbers immediately began to increase with MYFC coaches visiting local primary schools running taster sessions, more free ‘taster sessions‘ pilots, and with the target of league football, the Angels snowballed into what it is today. There are now 108 girls in registered league football, with another 24 playing in introductory festivals run by Wiltshire FA, from U8 (Y3) up to U14 (Y9). Behind the players are a workforce of 20 volunteers, 8 of whom are now qualified coaches with at least FA Level 1 coaching badges, with more coaches becoming qualified all the time.
For the past two years, the Club has been chosen by the FA to run a SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Centre in Marlborough, a national programme to encourage more girls playing football. The Club’s Wildcats programme introduces girls to football in the Spring of School Year 2 and has been a massive success with the most recent programme filling up to capacity in just the second week! In May this year, MYFC Angels even paraded around the pitch at Wembley Stadium on Women’s FA Cup Final Day in front of a crowd of 50,000 as well as displaying their talents at half time in an internal women’s match (England v Spain).
MYFC is recognised as an endorsed hotspot for girls football in Wiltshire and there are a number of Angels representing the County at Wiltshire ACC. Some play for Swindon Town too. What a success both on and off the pitch!!! A very important part of the club, the girls section now comprises one third of MYFC (350-400 footballers in total). If growth continues at the current rate, will be mirroring the boys section with a team in all ages groups (U5-U18) in just a few years’ time.
Many congratulations to everyone who has helped this incredible story, and long may it continue.
If you want to find out more about MYFC or the Angels, whether as player, coach or volunteer, contact email@example.com