Young girls team lifting trophy with Chelsea player Aggie Beever-Jones

Peckham football club celebrates International Day of the Girl

Peckham based football club ‘Girls United’ hosted an action-packed tournament to honour the ‘International Day of the Girl’ at Dulwich College last week. 

The tournament brought multiple south London schools from the ‘Girls United x Nike Love the Game’ programme together. 

Girls from years 4 to 6 played across four pitches, with over 100 students present, alongside Chelsea women’s footballer Aggie Beever-Jones to bring the all-important stardom.

The event’s aim was to celebrate girls and how they can inspire those around them when given the space and platform.

Communications manager Josh Emerson, 29, said: “After the success of the Lionesses I think we planned for a boom in participation and there has been a real growth.

“We want girls to learn to play without the fear of failure.”

Women’s Super League forward Beever-Jones spent time with each team, answering any questions they had between games, and presented trophies to participants.

The club itself establishes safe spaces for girls and young women to have access to sporting programmes, providing them with the opportunity to succeed, both on and off the pitch.

The non-profit organisation – which started in Mexico – runs a number of coaching programmes internationally to empower girls in local communities.

The FA accredited club also just celebrated their fifth anniversary, and will host an event in Peckham with players, staff and supporters on November 11. 

Emerson added: “It all started five years ago at Peckham Rye Park, and it’s still amazing that we’re still playing in the same place.

“In those first few sessions, we only had a handful of participants and now we’re looking at two sessions over the weekends with 30 plus players.”

Chelsea women's footballer signing the girl players autographs

Girls United founder and CEO Romina Calatayud told her team that despite steps being taken and funding being secured, still only 40 per cent of girls have access to equal play.

Calatayud said: “The grassroots level feeds directly into all aspects of the game and provides sustainability.”

Alongside the tournament, they teamed up with Ben Wild Studios who, along with players from London and Mexico, created a unique animated video. 

Players from both locations were invited to personalise the drawings, adding colour and other elements that best described how football made them and those around them feel.

Since its launch in 2017, Girls United coaches have provided over 5,000 hours of sessions to approximately 4,500 participants in London and Mexico combined. 

The London branch of the organisation have 15 FA accredited coaches and over 800 girls participate in competitive matches over the course of the season.

The two girls teams standing in the middle of a perfect football pitch

For more information visit the Girls United website.

All images courtesy of Girls United. 

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