The legacy of the Lionesses has inspired many women and young girls across the country and particularly at Active Essex. We have Hollie, Hayley and our Community Connector Amy who have all had their own journey and experiences within the sport, but have been driven by the same thing: their love of the game.
Hollie Wood – Assistant Relationship Manager at Active Essex shared: “Growing up in a rural village there were not many football teams locally and no girls’ teams. When I started high school, I learnt that I could no longer play with the boys and there was no provision for girls, so I had nowhere to play except down the park with friends. As an adult I didn’t build up the courage to play again until the age of 30 and luckily found a local club that were starting casual women’s training sessions. I loved it and through a colleague at work, joined a Ladies Team where I’ve been playing since. I missed years of playing football due to a lack of provision, opportunity, and visibility but I’ve never stopped loving football, and am so happy we have women in the spotlight to stop mine and many others story repeating itself!
Hayley Chapman – Relationship Manager – “My dad was a keen footballer and played football with me and my brother from a young age and at primary school I was part of the school football team, one of just two girls in the team. I remember winning a signed picture of the England women’s team at the time and I wasn’t even aware there was a women’s team before that. I have been playing football for around 25 years, although there was about 4 years I didn’t play when I started secondary school as they didn’t provide the opportunity for girls to play or have a team. At this age I was too old to play with the boys but too young to join a women’s team. I eventually joined a women’s team at 14 years old. The thing I like most about playing football is being part of a team, supporting each other and playing together to achieve the same goal. The people I have met through football are some of my greatest friends.”
Amy Melton – Community connector “I first became interested in football by watching my older brother play and I remember standing on the side lines wishing I could also. Yet at that time, there were no local girl’s teams, and I wasn’t allowed to train with the boys. I spent all my free time kicking a ball around with my brother and his friends. It wasn’t until I started secondary school that I joined the girl’s team and started playing matches. In total, I have been playing for about 7 years. I stopped in my twenties when I had my children but recently signed up with a new ladies’ team that formed last year, Southminster United. I was worried I may be ‘past it’ at the age of 37 but signing up with a team has motivated me to keep my fitness up. I love being part of a team and knowing we all have different levels of experience, but it makes no difference on and off the pitch as we all get on so well. The forming of Southminster United Ladies happened at the right time for me to return to my football roots. It has improved my fitness so much and it has also been a great way to connect with other women and form new friendships.
If you are feeling inspired after watching the ladies’ football and looking to make your start in the sport or return to your passion, then make sure to visit our activity finder which has been updated with female football opportunities. You heard it here, it’s never too late to get involved with the game.
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