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Oxford City FC has announced a major upgrade to its female football programme which will increase participation, training and playing opportunities for both junior and senior players.
The Marston-based club will operate an additional seven squads during the 2023-24 season from U8s upwards and continue to engage young football enthusiasts aged 5-11 via its Weetabix Wildcats Girls’ Football sessions and Fun Football Programmes.
The move is being supported by Hoops’ community delivery partners, Ignite Sport and Velocity Football and will create multiple paid coaching, management and back-room roles within the club.
In addition, players will continue to experience the full benefits of the club’s proven player pathway which links foundation-level programmes to its junior and youth squads and the first-team.
Aliyah Anthony, Oxford City Women’s first-team manager, said broadening the club’s female football provisions forms part of ambitions to grow the women’s game locally.
“We’ve been really encouraged by the number of female players starting their football journey in recent years,” said Aliyah. “This growth has further demonstrated a desire to fulfil ambitious plans and to formalise the expansion of our entire female football operation for those aged five to adult.
“The professional success stories of last year have unquestionably contributed to generating an exciting future for women’s sport, and we want to be at the heart of this development in Oxfordshire.
“We’ll do this in partnership with Ignite Sport, who will upscale their delivery of female football within schools across the county"
“While there is a focus on competition among our playing squads, we invite those of all experiences and backgrounds to meet our experienced and qualified coaching team and try football for themselves.
“It’s not only a great way to learn new skills, but you’ll meet likeminded people and be surrounded by supportive, friendly and sociable teammates.”
Growth for the women’s game at Oxford City FC comes weeks after a Sport England survey revealed 100,000 more girls are playing football today compared to five years ago.
Over 777,000 girls play football in a formal setting each week with an additional 200,000 girls playing in an informal setting such as their local park.
Despite this, over half (52.8%) of children aged 5-16 still fail to meet the Chief Medical Officer’s recommend level of at least one hour of sport or physical activity each day.
Justin Merritt, Director of Football at Oxford City FC, believes the club’s move to increase the volume of playing opportunities can help to reverse that trend locally.
He said: “What’s striking from Sport England’s survey is almost a quarter of girls who play football do so with friends or individually without being part of a team.
“We want to encourage more female players to take the next step and establish a routine where they can train, play, succeed and make new friends by joining a club.
“Preparations to make next season our biggest, best and most exciting yet are well underway and we hope to see plenty of new faces through the summer months.”
Oxford City FC is seeking players for newly formed female squads for U8s, U10s, U11s, U15s, U23s and its senior squad next season.
Anyone interested in registering their interest in joining a team or being part of the staffing of this exciting new expansion should email Tia Herbert - firstname.lastname@example.org