With the women’s world cup in Canada on the horizon,taking place next July, Women’s football continues its huge rise in popularity, so there is no better time to join the women’s football team at York.
Vision spoke to the club’s president Ellie Whitaker about why girls should give football a try, ‘We welcome everyone, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned pro, who’s played for their country, or whether you’ve never kicked a ball before! This year, we have appointed a totally new coaching team: our new head coach is Lewis Atkinson, an extremely experienced coach who last year was assistant manager of Leeds United Ladies FC in the Women’s Premier League, and his assistant is Chris Collins, an outstanding coach who is also a former professional footballer’.
The friendly atmosphere and great enthusiasm remains but there are many changes at the club and around other outlets that suggests an even easier way of getting involved in some form. ‘ As you can see, it’s a year of big changes, and none more so than with our teams: we’ve got a new second team who will compete in BUCS 4AB,and also we’ve got our first team who will be aiming to gain promotion out of Northern 3B, after a strong performance last year following promotion! Also, last season we joined with York Sport’s Club of the Year, Futsal, to enter a women’s futsal team into BUCS. Despite none of us having played futsal before, we were very successful, finishing 2nd in our league and reaching the last 16 of the BUCS National Championship. This year futsal will also be entering the FA Cup: the 2014 final was held at the Copper Box at the London Olympic Park, which is a great venue for an amazing sport! Make sure you try it at least once, it’s always a great laugh, and Junior, our coach, is incredible!’
Unlike in the men’s sport, women’s college football was much quieter in terms of events last year, something else Ellie is excited to improve. ‘Another change we’ve made is to bring UYWAFC even closer to women’s college football. Once a month (at least), we’ll be opening our sessions up to everyone, to give more people a chance to get involved, even if they didn’t come along in Fresher’s week. We train twice a week, with the first and second team attending another session on top of that. As with most other BUCS clubs, our matches are on Wednesday afternoons across the north east. Futsal also train once a week, with matches over the weekend across the north. Socials are held every Wednesday evening, and there’s no better way to celebrate a victory than with your team-mates either out in York, or on one of the quieter socials: film nights, lazerquest and club meals were some of the things we did last year’.
‘If you’ve been inspired by seeing the WSL or England women’s national team doing so well, I urge you to come and find us in Fresher’s week. We’ll be holding an open session on 5th October, and all of our training sessions throughout pre-season and fresher’s week will be open to everyone, regardless of if you’re already a member or not! With a new team, and a lot of players graduating last year, we have lots of space in our squads, so there’s loads of chances to get involved at either a university or college level, or even if you want to come on socials, that’s fine too’!
In terms of the importance of getting involved with a sports club at university, it’s clear Ellie is one of many who believe it can be one of the best parts of the whole experience, and urges freshers to give it a try; ‘Come on down in Fresher’s week, and if a training session can’t persuade you, see if one of our amazing weekly socials will do! I can honestly say that playing sport at university, and especially joining UYWAFC is the best decision I’ve ever made, so regardless of which sport you play, make sure you get involved: YOU WON’T REGRET IT’!!
It would be great to hear from anyone who is interested in joining us next year! Get in touch via email [email protected], twitter @UYWAFC or Facebook.com/UYWAFC and we’ll happily answer whatever questions you have. See you in September!’