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Female Sevens League to attract new stars

Essex County FA Football Development Officer, Sharon Brownlie, hopes the recent inclusion of the innovative Female Sevens League in a best practice booklet for small-sided football gives local ladies another reason to sign-up for the forthcoming Spring League campaign before it gets underway on Friday 30th March.

The FA’s ‘Small-Sided Football Good Practice Guide 2011/12’ is a comprehensive report covering the expanding landscape of football development work that has taken place across all the formats in England between County FAs, commercial providers and a host of local level partnerships. The Sevens League in Essex’s five London Boroughs, alongside the Thurrock Enquirer Business League, was singled out for special praise.

Now the aim is to harness that positive energy by attracting new players and teams to the league, which was created in 2008 to provide an alternative format of football for female players in Essex and its surrounding London Boroughs. “I’m delighted with how the League has gone so far and it’s particularly pleasing to see how the newer teams are progressing,” explained Sharon, who works with Emma Burden to develop female football locally.

“It is still growing as there is a need for a smaller, more flexible format of football in the County. All of the sides have improved dramatically over the past few months, which is extremely pleasing to see. The league is open and inclusive to all, and caters for all abilities and teams that have previously taken part include groups of friends, current 11v11 teams looking for extra training and ex-players and community groups.”

Sevens League football was set-up after a schedule of ladies’ beginners’ sessions, which aimed to introduce local females to the game, became sufficiently popular to sustain their own small-sided competition, which meets every month. The Spring League launches at Powerleague in Fairlop and there will be three further monthly events in April, May and June.

This will be the eighth season of the competition overall and, with over 200 females having enjoyed taking part since its creation, the plan is still to involve many more. Teams can register for as little as £20, with new sides also having the added bonus of receiving a free kit to play in. Each league event carries a cost of £20 per team.

Teams can find an affiliation form (and The FA’s ‘Small-Sided Football Good Practice Guide 2011/12’) at www.essexfa.com. The form needs to be returned, along with the registration fee, to Sharon Brownlie at: Essex County FA, The County Office, Springfield Lyons Approach, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 5LB. Sharon can also be contacted on (01245) 393074 or via E-Mail at sharon.brownlie@essexfa.com.

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