Pupils Build Lasting Legacy for Girls’ Football

Stella Chamberlain (left) and Ellie Conner (right)

Two remarkable Year 11 students have received high praise for their incredible efforts in helping to develop grassroots football for girls in the Bridgnorth area.

Over the past three years, Stella Chamberlain and Ellie Conner have worked tirelessly on increasing girls’ opportunities in football through sheer hard work and determination.

PE teacher and supporter of girls’ football, Mr Chase, said: “Stella and Ellie have been extremely influential in creating the ever-growing community clubs, teams and festivals.”

“I am so proud of them as they have both contributed massively to building a lasting legacy for girls in and around Bridgnorth.”

The pair were spurred into action at the age of 12 as the realisation dawned that there were no local girls’ football teams available for their age group to join.

When a special ‘Game of Our Own’ engagement event at Loughborough University came up in 2019, Stella and Ellie, together with eight other girls from BES, jumped at the chance to get involved.

Designed to inspire girls to be ‘activators’, the event taught them coaching and leadership skills to deliver football sessions and marketing skills to promote girls’ football effectively.

Armed with the tools and expertise gained from their training, the girls created promotional videos, planned tournaments and events, set goals and much more.

Ellie said:” I am tremendously proud of all the work that myself, Stella and the other activators have done and what we have accomplished.”

“There are now multiple girls’ teams for different age groups in Bridgnorth and I am pleased that younger girls are now able to receive the opportunities to play football that we did not have.”

The girls pictured with England Lioness Sue Smith (front row) and Liverpool Captain Sophie Bradley-Auckland (back row) at Loughborough University in March 2019

In fact, girls’ football has gone from strength to strength in the town with five teams at Bridgnorth Town Juniors and two at Spartans, catering for a range of ages from under 8s to under 15s.

With the surge in popularity enjoyed by top-level women’s football in recent years, never has it been more important to carve out teams to give girls a game of their own.

Sharing her experiences, Stella said: “I used to play for a mixed team but I left as the majority of my team and the opposition were boys who were outgrowing me. The game had also started to get more aggressive and some of the boys began to refuse to pass to me because I was a girl.”

“This is another key reason why I am so passionate about normalising girls’ participation in the sport and banishing the myth that football is just for boys.”

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