Football team aims to get more women into 'male-dominated' sport
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A young but flourishing female football club is hoping to get more women into the "male-dominated sport" by providing opportunities to develop their skills from scratch.
Becci Marnell, 36, and from Great Yarmouth, is club secretary for Yarmouth FC - a women's-only development football club formed in 2019, which calls Beaconsfield Park their training ground.
Starting out with a handful of under-13s, the club has expanded hugely in the last two years. It now has an adult ladies team, an under-10s team and an under-six development group ready to launch as soon as lockdown ends.
"We just want women in the local area to have as much opportunity to play the sport they love as men do", Ms Marnell said. "A lot of women and girls who've always had an interest in the game now have the chance to develop their skills. It's so rewarding to see them nurturing their talent and gaining confidence."
Ms Marnell explained that many of the adults who have joined the ladies' club formerly felt "embarrassed" about getting involved in football.
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"They either hated joining in games with men or when they did join in, nobody was passing them the ball," she said.
"But in this women's-only space the team members can really flourish. It's been fantastic for people's mental health.
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"The adults' team have Emma Hastings as their coach - an ex-professional who played for Arsenal in the 1990s. She's moved back to Yarmouth and has loads of experience to draw on."
Aware that many women may not have played football regularly before, Ms Marnell said that the team was "open to everyone".
She said: "For me personally, I couldn't kick a ball until very recently. But one of the focuses of Yarmouth FC is on development. Now I frequently play with the team on match days."
Other coaches include Lee Carter, Glenn Joyce and Abbie Pogmore, as well as tactics specialist John Marnell and fitness expert Dave Sedgwick.
Ms Marnell said they formed "a little family", and has asked anyone who wants to get involved to email email@example.com.