‘A milestone’: Euro 2022 helps relaunch campaign to get more kids playing

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English football fans have grown accustomed to an unfamiliar feeling: victory. The Lionesses’ win over Germany on Sunday in the Euro 2022 final is the first time an England national team has won a tournament since 1966.

The game would have earned the biggest TV audience for a women’s game in UK history – and the highest viewing figures for anything that has aired on TV this year. All of this adds to the feeling that, finally, women’s football has achieved great success.

“The brilliant Euro 2022 tournament was a milestone in women’s football,” said Sheffield United Women player and former England U23 player Courtney Sweetman Kirk. “We need to leverage the level of engagement of the participants, removing any barriers that get in the way.”

Kirk is one of many players involved in a campaign to do just that. Football restarted allows people to post unwanted football boots for free and then distribute them to young players from disadvantaged backgrounds. Not just in England, but across the UK.

A report by the group found that 58% of parents whose children have already stopped playing football said affordability was a barrier. A third of parents (34%) fear they won’t be able to afford the equipment and boots for next season.

We must take advantage of the level of commitment of the participants, removing all the obstacles that hinder

Former England goalkeeper David James MBE, Football Rebooted campaign ambassador, said: “I absolutely loved watching the Lionesses navigate their way through this brilliant tournament, and it pains me to think that future Lionesses might be put off by affordability.The cost of football boots or equipment cannot be a barrier for anyone who plays football.

He added: “There’s enough for everyone, male or female – we just have to think twice before throwing away perfectly good items.”

There are already signs that the Lionesses victory is attracting more women and girls to the field.

“Since the Euros we’ve been running women’s tournaments across the UK and we’ve seen a huge influx of women playing football,” said Lauren Forrest, chief executive of Goals Newcastle, who looks after pitches across the city.

“Last weekend, 90 women put on their boots for our tournament and it was probably one of the best atmospheres I’ve experienced in my nine years with Goals – with their kids and partners cheering them on. from the touchline.”

Main image: Shaun Botterill/Getty

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