Chichester City Ladies and Girls FC are celebrating after being awarded a £3,000 Grow the Game grant, something that has attracted praise from England manager Gareth Southgate.
The grant, which will provide a boost to grass-roots football in Chichester, has paved the way for the club to provide a new under-tens team and a second under-13s team to accommodate the number of girls in this age group that want to play.
It will also be used to provide training for volunteers to gain coaching, first aid and safeguarding-of-children qualifications to support these teams.
The club will now be running six girls’ teams and a mini soccer centre for girls aged from five to nine, as well as two adult teams.
England manager and Football Foundation ambassador Gareth Southgate said: “I am so pleased Chichester City Ladies & Girls Football Club has secured this Grow the Game grant.
“The club have worked very hard with Sussex County FA and the Football Foundation to get more local people playing football so that they can enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that come with playing regular sport.
“Grow the Game is mainly funded by the FA and delivered by the Football Foundation. This is money that is flowing from the very top of the game down to the lowest levels, to help clubs at the grassroots to bear the cost of starting up a new team, whether it be for a new kit, pitch hire or sending volunteers on FA-accredited coaching courses.”
Grow the Game is a £2.5m programme funded by the FA and the Football Foundation. It awards grants to grass-roots football clubs that wish to create new teams, especially among under-represented groups.
Some £1,500 is available to help FA-affiliated clubs with the cost of creating a new team, which might include the cost FA coaching courses; FA league affiliation costs; referees’ fees; first aid kits; and even football kit and equipment.
Caz Henry Evans, chairman and secretary of Chi ladies, said: “We are grateful for this grant and the support of both the Football Foundation and the Sussex County FA to enable us to maintain and grow girls’ football in this area and to assist volunteers to gain the necessary qualifications to support this.”
Chi City Ladies 0 Watford Ladies 2
Goals from Anneka Nuttall and Leah Cudone gave Watford a comfortable win on their visit to Oaklands Park as Chichester stepped up their friendlies with the sternest test yet on a sunny afternoon.
The Hornets play in the FA Women’s Super League, which is one division above where the Green Army find themselves for the coming campaign. And tests like this will go a long way to settling nerves and giving the girls confidence for the start of the new season in just over a week’s time.
Chichester were without stalwart Emma Alexandre through injury and Sadie Wilson-Blakely sat out the match following a recent injury.
Chichester more than handled themselves early on against their illustrious opponents. With the two-pronged attacking duo of Cherelle Khassal and Charley Wilson-Blakely looking dangerous for the hosts, the yellows had to be on top of their game and snuffed out any chances Chichester could create.
Kerry Ryan created the best opening the green army had in the first half when a free kick caused panic in the heart of defence for the Hornets and Jess Lewry’s header flew just wide of the mark.
The visitors almost broke the deadlock when Cher Albert drove hard to the byline and delivered a low cross which Poppy Shine dealt with – but Simona Petkova drove the ball back goalward and, after a second save from Shine, Cudone could only find the side netting.
Watford found their way through before the half ended. A momentary lapse of concentration at the back saw the ball fall at the feet of the onrushing Nuttall to slide home with a calm finish past the stranded Shine.
Chichester came out intent on getting level but almost contrived to concede a second as Watford surged forward but Ruby Baxter was thwarted at the back stick by the excellent Lucie Challen.
Moments later, Ryan pumped a free-kick into the danger area and the ball fell at the feet of Lewry, who spun into space and just had the keeper to beat but was thwarted by an outstanding save. The rebound fell kindly for Khassal but her effort was well gathered.
The sides continued to look for more and Watford could have grabbed a second with 20 minutes to go when Shine made a clearance from wide of her area that was intercepted by Albert, who proceeded to hit the bar from long distance.
Chichester regrouped but Watford still showed great class and doubled their lead just minutes later through Cudone.
Chichester were extremely encouraged by their performance. They host Brighton & Hove Albion’s development team tonight (7.30pm) and another testing fixture can be expected.
City: Shine, Challen, Cheshire, Ingram, Taylor, Symonds, Dowdell, Ryan, Lewry, C Wilson-Blakely, Khassal. Subs: Fowlie, White, Bloomfield.
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