Chelsea Football Club ladies and England star shows Havering girls they can play
PUBLISHED: 17:39 21 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:39 21 March 2017
She came, she scored, she inspired a new generation of women footballers after sharing her passion for the game that has made her one of England's most well-known face.
Fran Kirby, Chelsea Ladies and England footballer, joined youngsters and their mums at a weekly She Can Play session at Noak Hill Sports Complex yesterday.
Set up last year by Kat Clifton, 26, of Rettford Road, Harold Hill, She Can Play FC aims to give girls a place to play and develop their skills.
“When I was growing up, there wasn’t this sort of thing,” said Fran.
“There wasn’t anyone to look up to. I just knew the male footballers. I didn’t know any females.
“There was no place for girls to do this [play]. You had to be serious or not do it at all.”
But She Can Play is set to turn that around.
The club is riding high on the success gained last year after beating thousands of entrants to make it to the national final of the FA People’s Cup, despite narrowly missing out on the prize after losing 3-2.
The club features a women’s team, sessions for five to 11-year-olds, girls aged 12-16, and their mums.
She Can Play
Fran Kirby, Chelsea Ladies Football Club and England national player, with Sophia Barber, five. Picture: Ann-Marie Abbasah.
Fran Kirby, Chelsea Ladies Football Club and England national player, with Kyla McGill, nine. Picture: Ann-Marie Abbasah.
Fran Kirby, Chelsea Ladies Football Club and England national player, with She Can Play Mums' player of the week, Ami Wager, 27. Picture: Ann-Marie Abbasah
Fran Kirby, second left, a Chelsea Ladies Football Club and England national player,with She Can Play players of the week. Picture: Ann-Marie Abbasah.
Fran Kirby, Chelsea Ladies Football Club and England national player, answering children's questions at Noak Hill Sports Complex. Picture: Ann-Marie Abbasah.
Fran Kirby, Chelsea Ladies Football Club and England national player, joined in She Can Play sessions to inspire the borough's next generation of female football players. Picture: Ann-Marie Abbasah.
Showing she can play, Fran Kirby, Chelsea and England star will teach girls footy skills in Harold Wood on Monday. Picture: Vaughn Ridley/EMPICS SPORT/PA Images.
England's Fran Kirby in action during the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada in 2015. Picture: Vaughn Ridley/EMPICS Sport/PA Images.
God Squad take on She Can Play during the FA People's Cup Final at Powerleague Shoreditch. Picture: HARRY HUBBARD/THE FA/GETTY IMAGES
She Can Play after the FA People's Cup at Powerleague Shoreditch. Picture: HARRY HUBBARD/THE FA/GETTY IMAGES
“I really like the mum thing,” continued Fran.
“It gives mums an incentive to play and if the girls see mummy playing they then want to be like mummy.
“Mums are then role models. It’s really cool.”
Mary Nemhara, who plays for the mums’ team at the same time her young daughter plays with other children, said: “We looked everywhere for courses for girls and there was nothing.
“It’s wrong. All the male ones you can get just like that but there is nowhere near as much for girls.”
The club also teaches the girls to get to know faces in the FA Women’s Super League.
Kat added: “Instead of being the next David Beckham, they can become the next Fran Kirby.”
Having recovered from her injuries, the star player hopes to be picked for the upcoming Euros.
“Meetings have been quite positive,” she added before rushing off to show youngsters her nifty footwork.
If you fancy becoming a top player like Fran, visit shecanplay.uk.
To help the club win a Football Association community award for best inclusive project for providing opportunities for women and girls click here.