Everton Ladies star Fern Whelan has praised the Premier League Women and Girls programme, after the centre half enjoyed an afternoon of sporting activity with a group of female students in a seassion run by Everton in the Community.
The England defender, who was won three caps for her country, was at Archbishop Beck Tennis Centre this month to see in action the joint programme between the Premier League, The FA, the Football League and Sport England to provide new sessions for 14-25-year-olds with professional clubs across the country.
"It gives the girls who aren’t as used to playing football a chance to get involved." Fern Whelan
The 25-year-old took part in coaching sessions and chatted with the Archbishop Beck High School pupils.
“This initiative is great for grassroots football,” Whelan, who is also a trained physiotherapist, said. “It gives the girls who aren’t as used to playing football a chance to get involved with the game and do a little bit more, which is great way of advertising the game to a younger generation.
“It is a great way of educating the girls and letting know there is more opportunities for playing sports rather than the conventional female sports of netball and hockey.
“It is very important that at this time we keep them interested in all kinds of sports and then, when they get to a certain age, doing what I did and deciding football is the one for me.”
The programme, which has investment of 2.4m from Sport England over the next two years, is based on the successful Premier League 4 Sport programme and aims to engage more than 6,000 female participants each year through community coaches from the 34 Premier League and Football League clubs on the PL4Sport programme. Historically, females have proved more difficult to engage in sporting activities than males once they reach secondary school.
For more information or to be become involved with the programme, contact Everton in the Community's Sports Development Manager, Jackie Twort via email at email@example.com