Today, we take a look at Crayford Arrows, one of our Wildcats centres providing opportunities for girls across London.
1. What led to you setting up a Wildcats centre?
We [Crayford Arrows] decided to set up a Wildcats centre after we started a girls’ soccer school on a Saturday which was quite successful. I was told about applying to be a Wildcats centre and it sounded just perfect for what we wanted to achieve, which was to grow the girl’s game.
2. Have you faced any hurdles/challenges in the process of running a Wildcats centre?
We have had a few challenges since opening. When we first opened, our centre was very popular, and we often found ourselves restricted for space on our small astro pitch. Our grass pitches were being worked on for the new season so they were out of bounds. We had to be really creative with what we planned for the girls to keep and make the most of the space with have, with up to 25 girls attending at any time!
Another hurdle is the ongoing pandemic. We have had to close our gates again for a third time, like all clubs around the UK. We are doing weekly zoom sessions to catch up with our little wildcats, keeping them in touch with each other and play a few fun games. They love it! We run our zoom sessions at 5pm on a Wednesday.
3. What are some of the benefits/best part of running a Wildcats centre?
The best part of running a Wildcats centre is definitely seeing so many young girls getting into football. They come back, week after week, in all weather and they still leave with a massive smile on their faces. It is so lovely to see how much the girls develop over the sessions with their confidence and ability. We most certainly have a few super stars in our centre.
4. What would be your advice to a club looking to start a Wildcats?
Since we started our Wildcats centre in May 2019, we have created three new girls’ teams and we are looking at two new teams for the next season. It has certainly grown the game at Crayford Arrows, and I am very lucky to have such wonderful dedicated Wildcat volunteer coaches to support me.
My advice to anyone looking to start up a Wildcats centre is DO IT! You will not regret it and you will get so much joy out of teaching young girls to play football every week. I often ask myself my I didn’t become a Wildcats coach sooner, I really love it!
You can find out more about what Crayford Arrows FC are up to on their website.
If you have questions regarding Wildcats, you can ask Stacie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on setting up a Wildcats Centre of your own, you can email Aquila Burgess at Aquila.Burgess@londonfa.com.