A Camberwell-based girls’ football club could represent south London in the world’s largest youth competition, as the head coach attempts to ‘raise the profile’ of local players.
Led by a former England Player Pathway Coach, South London Girls’ Football Academy aims to provide as many young local girls as possible with professional coaching – which you would traditionally have to be selected to receive.
Director and head coach, Jamie Greaves has years of experience coaching girls that have gone on to represent the country.
“Youth girls football is growing and it’s great to see,” Jamie told us. “The barrier we aim to overcome is to bridge the gap between grassroots and talent centre football.”
He explained that although there are more opportunities than ever for girls to receive professional coaching, “the disparity has always been huge.”
Emerging Talent Centres identify and develop future potential players by providing local, accessible high-quality training environments.
“High performing girls are selected to play for emerging talent centres, but these are the only ones to receive structured, professional coaching.”
The number of these centres is growing, but Jamie commented his mission is to ensure more girls get this level of training.
“If we can provide that level of structure and coaching for a wider array of players that don’t need to go through a selection process then it will give more players the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”
Two years since it started, the club now has 70 players in total from across Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich, with an open door policy regardless of experience, ability or financial background.
Their next challenge is getting the girls into competitive league football and competitions, including into the largest youth football tournament in the world – the Gothia Cup.
They have started a campaign to raise £12,500 to to take our Under 12’s, who recently won a Charlton Athletic Tournament, to represent south London at the Gothia Cup next year in Sweden.
“This team could compete and raise the profile of girls football in south London,” Jamie added. The money will also go towards supporting two of their teams entering the local league. Jamie said a number of girls are striving to be professional players, “the youngest of these being four years old.”
“The Women’s World Cup continues to inspire them.”
Click here to donate to the next generation of local female football stars.