As the Lionesses take the Euros by storm, some of Norfolk’s rising stars in girls’ football face an uncertain future.
Red Rose Under 11s started the 2021/22 season with just seven players – the minimum required to play in the Norfolk Women and Girls’ Football League (NWGFL).
Yet the girls, coached by local footballer, Emily and her father, Gary, have quickly become one of the most formidable teams in the area, climbing the rankings to finish third by the end of the season.
They now have 10 dedicated, regular players, which means they have had a healthy number of substitutes as well as an impressive squad on the pitch.
“Em and Gary use a passionate but gentle approach, valuing each individual girl and empowering them to be the very best that they can be, said midfielder Sahara’s mother Julie Proudfoot.
“My daughter has flourished through this style of coaching, growing in confidence to be herself. She is proud of being part of the Red Rose family.”
Sadly for the girls, who train up to twice a week at Cawston Church of England Primary Academy, their promotion means that the team must now have nine players for each match instead of seven.
To build on their legacy, the now Red Rose Under 12s team is seeking to recruit girls in years 6 and 7 to train and play for the squad.
“We’ve been very lucky to work with such a wonderful group of girls,” said coach, Emily. “Their unfailing hard work and commitment in all weathers has been outstanding. This has shown in their fitness and performances last season.
“Not only are we extremely proud of the girls footballing achievements but it’s also been a joy to watch them develop into wonderful young people and build such lovely friendships together. Along with the brilliant support from our parents, it’s more like a family.
“We are now looking to add to our squad, so if you’re interested in joining, please get in touch.”
Girls’ football has seen an unprecedented rise in popularity in recent years as the England women’s team goes from strength to strength.
According to the Football Association, with more than 2.5 million registered players, football is now the top participation sport for women and girls in England – and teams such as Red Rose are part of that story.
Cawston Red Rose Football Club was established in 1986 and is the only all-female club to have been a continuous member of the NWGFL since its formation.
The league has teams ranging from under 9s to ladies and play a variety of friendly and league matches across Norfolk.
For further information visit the Cawston Red Rose website or contact Paul Willmott 07926 004994 or email.