Local clubs have relaunched the 'Sister Club' partnership this season, and Hartley Wintney Junior FC has teamed up with Reading FC Women. On 24th February, the club hosted an all-girls training event on the main pitch to kick-start the initiative, with special guest, Faye Bryson, who plays in defence for Reading in the FA Women's Super League.
Next, on 10th April, the club is hosting a girls festival for U7, U9 and U12s where they will be joined by more professional players to support and inspire. Bringing football to life and meeting role models from Reading FC Women is a truly positive step in bringing the partnership together and inspires the next generation of girls to get involved in football.
The timing is perfect as both clubs will embrace International Women’s Day this week (8th March), encouraging the removal of barriers, not just in sport, but also of a world free of bias, stereotype and discrimination.
Sarah Wiggins, leading the project at Hartley Wintney JFC, said “This is a very exciting time for our girls. We have gone from 1 to 3 junior girls teams, and last year successfully launched our Wildcats girls training program for 5-11 year olds, with over 50 girls kicking a ball for the first time. Our new partnership with Reading FC Women will open the doors for more joint initiatives. We will be taking our girls to Reading matches and have awesome players like Faye Bryson come and meet our girls and their parents, building relationships. Today gives us the opportunity for the girls to meet professional real life players, and more importantly, role models. The ball is literally at their feet and they can aspire to go from being a Hartley Wintney Tiger to an England Lioness. Who knows what the future could hold..."
Faye Bryson commented “Having a relationship with grassroots teams is equally as important for both Reading Women FC and the grassroots teams. It builds connections for young girls to get an insight into what it takes to be a professional footballer, enticing them to come to trials for the academy and also building a bigger fan base. The event [at Hartley Wintney FC] was amazing! Seeing how many young girls were at the club and participating in the Wildcats program just shows how much growth there is in women’s football. Back when I was their age I had to participate in boys teams so this proves how far it has come!”
Hartley Wintney Junior FC is also busy recruiting Girls aged 14+ years to qualify as Hampshire FA referees, The club now has 6 female refs regularly blowing their whistles on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Mums and Aunties and sisters and cousins are also encouraged to take their coaching exams and the club will support them all the way. Over 12 young ladies from this area have recently been trained by Hampshire FA referees department, and we hope the number will continue to rise.
Our girls teams are each sponsored by a local Hartley Wintney business, dedicated to building a stronger community with girls football.
U7 Tigers - TaDa! Beauty @tadabeauty
U9 Tigers - Phoenix Pest Solutions
U12 Tigers - HartOutfit @Hartoutfit - Fitness trainer