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AoC Sport helps FA conquer female football target

26 May 2020

AoC Sport is proud to have played an important part in helping the FA conquer their ambitious target of doubling female participation in football across the country between 2017 and 2020. Nationally 3.4m women and girls are now playing football and 1,621 Wildcats centres have been established across the country, which is an increase of 715% from 2017. These centres have given nearly 34,000 young girls the confidence to give football a go for the first time. In partnership with the FA, AoC Sport has successfully worked with member colleges to develop football and futsal opportunities for their students and for the community they serve, by providing a quality competition offer for females in further education, and through launching the trailblazing women’s football apprentice programme. Despite the 2019/20 season being cut short, our network of FA funded colleges, known as College Grassroots Hubs, engaged a total of 14,195 females within the game this year. Furthermore, the number of hubs offering fun, recreational sessions for females has risen from 80% to 92% over the last year.

Women’s Football Apprentices

The 15 current women’s football apprentices, who are referenced in the FA’s article as being the future workforce for the game, have this year engaged 6,156 new or lapsed players across all their programmes including within colleges and within local schools.

Stats for 2019/20

New female participants (new to college, lapsed or new to football) 6,156
Female leaders recruited to support female football 204
Female participants with a disability 428
BAME across all of the above areas 656
Total female participants engaged 6,360
Skye Smith, one of this year's apprentices, charted her journey in the infographic below, showing the variety and engagement of female football in her college and community. The women’s football apprentice programme began in 2017 has trained a total of 37 apprentices to increase female participation and also boost their employability skills for a future career in football.
New female participants (new to college, lapsed or new to football) 14,258
Female leaders recruited to support female football 716
Female participants with a disability 555
BAME across all of the above areas 1,064
Total female participants engaged 14,974

Future plans

Whilst women’s football has been on the rise in further education, AoC Sport has plans to ensure even more colleges are providing inclusive opportunities shaped around their student needs. The apprentice programme is set to continue in a new guise for 2020-22, with Weston College as the new national training provider. The hub network will also expand to allow more colleges to access services to develop their female football offers, and County FAs will continue to support and connect colleges with the game. Find out more about FA Women's Football Apprenticeship programme