In April 2018, Beeston FC launched a girls’ football programme as part of the FA's Wildcats scheme. As interest grew from a wide range of ages, the club formed four girls’ squads, Under 7, Under 9, Under 11 and Under 13.
The Under 13 age group is the first step into competitive football. As Beeston FC prepared for their first season, Under 13s’ assistant coach Charlie Walker was searching for a way to introduce the team to competitive football without discouraging the group and finding a good learning experience for players and coaches.
In stepped Nottingham Forest Ladies Under 13s who arranged a friendly game with their Beeston FC counterparts which provided the latter with their first experience of competitive football.
Walker said: “We are really proud of the girls and the way they stuck to their task. They are learning all the time and this game was a chance to experience a competitive match for the first time. They, as well as Ann-Marie and I as the coaches, learned loads. We are all much better for the experience. Most importantly, the girls enjoyed playing and we can't wait for the next game.”
Nottingham Forest Ladies pride themselves on aiding the development of grassroots football along with providing opportunities for players aged from Under 8 to Under 16 to develop in the Forest Ladies environment before moving up the development pathway to the club’s development, reserve and first teams.
Nottingham Forest Ladies club secretary Steven Gray said: “It was great that after the game, our coaches gave some feedback to Beeston’s coaching staff, along with providing complimentary tickets to Beeston FC so they could attend a Nottingham Forest Ladies first-team game. We also arranged for some of our first-team players to attend one of Beeston FC’s training sessions. We are happy to help where we can, its an important part of our football club’s culture.”
The game itself was played in great spirits with both teams showing their capabilities and sportsmanship.
Walker said: “The Forest team were a credit to themselves, their coaches and parents. They played very well with a fantastic, positive spirit. We are very grateful to Nottingham Forest Ladies for the game and the support of their coaches and parents throughout. It was an important day for our girls and club and crucially, an enjoyable one.”
Nottingham Forest Ladies general manager Lee Billiard said: “Being able to support Beeston FC in this way was important for us to do as a football club. The development of grassroots football is important for the long-term growth of the game. With the resources and senior players we have at our disposal, it is important for us to help grassroots clubs around Nottingham with development of players and coaches. We hope to be working with many more programmes like Beeston FC throughout the years.
To learn more about Beeston FC visit www.beestonfc.co.uk.
To learn more about Nottingham Forest Ladies and the junior programmes they run, please visit www.nottinghamforest.co.uk/ladies.