Skye Smith: “Women’s football is an amazing community to be a part of”

Following the highly successful turnout for The FA’s inaugural Women’s Football Weekend, we spoke to one of our FA Women’s Football Apprentices to find out how they supported the initiative and what benefits football can have in the community.

FA Women’s Football Apprentice Skye Smith is 19 years old and is an apprentice at Hartpury College.

Journey so far

My passion for football started when I was in infant school, as I was a bit of a tomboy and I wanted to like football to be more like the boys, so I started playing for my local girls’ team, Dursley Town.

My dad shares the same passion as me and we’ve had the chance to go to various football matches, including women’s matches at the London 2012 Olympics, travelling to Barcelona to watch Bristol Academy in the Women’s Champions League and, most recently, being part of the 77,768 people to be at the sold-out Lionesses game at Wembley Stadium.

I wanted to become a Women’s Football Apprentice as soon as I saw the role advertised. It seemed like the perfect job for me, going into work every day to work towards the goal of growing the women’s game. It’s something I am so invested in anyway, so to put it into my job is amazing.

Women’s Football Weekend

To celebrate the first-ever Women’s Football Weekend, I held a girls Key Stage 2 five-a-side tournament for local primary schools to come into Hartpury and have a good time playing football.

So 51 girls from eight schools came to the Hartpury Sports Academy to do just that! It was really great to watch St. Pauls, Dinglewell, Widden, Robinswood, Elmbridge and Hartpury Primary Schools being so enthusiastic, cheering each other on and playing some really impressive football.

A few weeks prior, I contacted the nearest WSL club, Bristol City WFC, to ask if they had anything I could utilise to promote to the girls during my tournament. They very generously gave me a 20% off voucher to use on tickets for their next home game on 24 November against Manchester City WFC, which is incredible! That meant that all of the girls could go to that game for just £1.60.

Every single girl that attended the tournament was awarded a medal and the ticket voucher, which they were really excited about. I felt it was important to share with them where they could see elite female footballers in real life and therefore support our closest top level team.

What do you think are the benefits of working with the local community?

One of the main benefits of working with the local community is that you can build up a positive relationship with them, whether that is with primary school teachers, children, parents or local stakeholders. It helps to build confidence knowing that people support what you’re doing too and it’s having positive local relationships that meant that I was able to run the tournament I did.

Another benefit of working locally means I can go into the community a lot more than I’d be able to if I had to travel further or if there was a lack of interest locally. Therefore, I can get to know the staff and students of different schools easier and help build that good rapport.

 What advice would you give to young girls wanting to get involved in football?

The advice that I’d give young girls who would like to get into football is to just go for it. Women’s football and everything surrounding it in England is at an all-time high and there’s never been a better time to get involved in it. Whether it’s playing or just supporting the female game they want to start, there is an amazing community for them to be part of and one which can ignite that passion that can last a life time.

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