Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Fever Pitch! Women's Footie Enjoys a Kickstart

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Fever Pitch! Women's Footie Enjoys a Kickstart

Article excerpt

Edited by Marie Turbill and Sarah Dale MARIE TURBILL asks.... Are you on the ball when it comes to the nation's new-found love of women's football? THE Olympic stage has put women's football in the spotlight.

New research shows a huge increase in awareness and excitement in the sport.

The study by the FA Women's Super League (www.fawsl.com) found almost 70% of 1,000 people surveyed would consider going to watch a live women's game - up 15% since the performances of the Team GB Women at London 2012.

The Olympic buzz has also led to a 43% rise in women who would be more likely to participate in the sport.

And 95% said they believe female football players make positive role models for teenage girls.

At Teesside's Goals Soccer Centre, they have certainly seen a surge in demand.

Manager Kash Patel says their existing ladies five-a-side league has eight teams with plans to expand into two divisions.

He said: "With the European Championships and Olympics this year we anticipated a growth.

"Our whole league programme has grown by 20 to 30% since this time last year."

Kelly Simmons, the FA's head of the national game, said: "These results show what an amazing legacy the Olympics has created for women's football.

"It is vital we use the platform London 2012 gave us to grow and develop the game here and keep all our new and existing fans.

"We want to make sure that we build on the Olympic momentum to secure ongoing passion and interest in women's sport - from the grassroots, upwards."

Stephanie bitten by football bug FOOTIE fan Stephanie Field was never one for standing at the sidelines.

She said: "I started playing football when I was about five or six. I have an older brother who I was always hanging around so I've grown up playing with the lads."

She went on to play for her school team, then at university started to play for Norton Football Club.

Today the 24-year-old, from Ormesby, is a regular in the ladies five-a-side league at Middlesbrough's Goals Soccer Centre.

"People can be surprised when I say I play football.

"I would probably say I'm a bit of a Tomboy but some people have a stereotypical image of what a girl footballer looks like, with very short hair and stuff, but a lot of us are not like that at all. …

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