New six-a-side league for ladies

AN initiative to offer ladies competitive small-sided football is being rolled out across England and will come to Ipswich this month with the launch of a new community 6-a-side football league which is being supported by Arsenal and England star Kelly Smith.

AN initiative to offer ladies competitive small-sided football is being rolled out across England and will come to Ipswich this month with the launch of a new community 6-a-side football league which is being supported by Arsenal and England star Kelly Smith.

It is hoped that the weekly league will enable more ladies to take part in competitive football with relatively few 11-a-side leagues still available despite the increase in popularity of women's football.

The ladies community six-a-side football league will be running every Thursday evening between 8pm and 10pm on the Astroturf pitch at Gainsborough Sports Centre.

The man behind the initiative is Paul Spacey, who helps to run the UK's largest and most popular network of men's small-sided football leagues, Prostar Leagues.


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Spacey hopes the ladies' leagues will eventually prove to be just as popular as men's small-sided football, especially now that women's football has overtaken netball as the official number one female participation sport in the UK.

He said: “We have countless enquiries every day from women looking to get involved in a six-a-side league and we have now decided on a new venture and will work with the Football Association to offer women throughout England the chance to do just that.

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“It is fantastic to have Kelly Smith involved as she is one of the most high profile names in women's football. In fact, she's probably the David Beckham of the women's game, but with a better left foot!”

Teams will play a half hour game each week, there is no registration or affiliation fee and match costs are just �3 per player per week. Divisional winners will receive free kits and entry into the first ever UK Women's National Cup while runners-up receive top quality individual trophies and there is also a top goalscorer competition.

The league will be affiliated to the Football Association with all matches being officiated by qualified FA referees and the organisers hope to get female officials involved in the competition. All equipment is provided so that it is simply a case of turning up and enjoying the fun, providing you are aged 16 and over.

“Kelly Smith, MBE, commented, “It is great to see someone trying to get more ladies involved in competitive football. I grew up playing small-sided football, it's a great way to improve your technique and fitness and the leagues will give ladies the chance to do that. It really is easy to get five or six friends together to take part so this is a great opportunity for local ladies to get involved in the game. ”

Anyone interested in taking part can either contact Kylie at Ladies Leagues on 0845 0745709 for more information or teams can register online at www.ladiesleagues.com .

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