London FA are thrilled to announce that Ellie Guedalla and Julie Leaff from Clapton CFC have been awarded The Lionesses Award!
Ellie and Julie are the co-founders and coaches of Clapton Community FC ‘Open Access’ team and training, for women and non-binary people of all ages, targeting beginners, those returning to the game or have been marginalised from football. They set up the session back in 2019, running sessions every Saturday morning rain or shine. They are complete volunteers and do this because they care about giving women and nonbinary people access to the beautiful game.
Since setting up Open Access, Ellie and Julie have coached over 300 people, fielded five-a-side teams in the Super 5 League and have run a several tournaments and in doing so, have raised money for charity. They have also developed several players into CCFC’s development and first teams. Ellie and Julie’s impact has extended beyond on the pitch skills, they have done something amazing by making football accessible to women and non-binary people who felt like football wasn’t open to them.
They’re passion for football comes from their own touching football stories, which comes across through their coaching and advice. Julie was part of the lost generation of women’s football, during the FA ban. She wasn’t allowed to play so her brother nicknamed her Trev and let her play with the boys. She only recently hung up her gloves after playing the game for over 40 years. Julie is more than a coach to many players, almost a surrogate mum! At age 11, Ellie was mistaken as a boy and accepted onto West Ham’s Academy. Ellie is a survivor of sexual abuse in football and sits on the FA’s survivor support and safeguarding advisory group. She puts safeguarding and welfare above all else, doing everything she can to level the playing field and dilute the power. It’s the people and football stories behind them that makes them stand out and gives them the passion to do what they do like no one else.
Congratulations to Ellie, Julie and Clapton Community FC!