Martin Read – Sports Reporter
Since their foundation in 1997 Southwater Royals Football Club have developed into an FA Chartered Standard Club – one of the first clubs in the area to be so accredited with the accolade only awarded to clubs committed to promoting excellent qualified coaching in a safe, rewarding environment. And, now that the club is firmly established as a well-respected community organisation they have launched an Under 12 Girls’ Section – and, just four weeks after it was formed the new team got off to a flying start with big win in their first ever match in the Sussex Women & Girls’ U12 League. They won the game – against their counterparts from Lindfield – 12-0 with Captain Siobhan Bridgewater leading from the front with five goals, Grace Bates adding three and Maddie Wilders, Maisie Ayling, Charlotte Doyle and Mia Scott also scoring. Siobhan’s opening goal quickly settled any nerves, getting the team off to a confident start, boosted by great support from the touchline, and she was understandably elated, telling the District Post: “We love playing football for Southwater Royals girls’ team and can’t wait for the season ahead!” Supporting mum, Emma Bates says: “The girls were utterly brilliant considering that they have only been together for a few weeks and this was their first match. We’re all so excited for the next game!”
Southwater Royals Chairman Andy New told us: “Football is the biggest female team sport in England and its growing, and at the Royals we believe that there is massive growth potential in girls’ football, so we started the new team and it was wonderful to see their opening game played in such a fantastic spirit and with extremely high quality performances.”
All Southwater Royals Managers and Assistant Managers are encouraged and supported in pursuing further coaching qualifications, and they are trained in emergency first aid procedures and required to retain and develop their knowledge of the game through membership of the Sussex County FA Coaches Association.
Andy New summed up saying: “The new Girls’ Team has a programme of 14 games in the league and will play friendlies, too – with upcoming matches against Crawley Wasps, Cuckfield Cosmos, Henfield, Horsham Sparrows, and Shoreham. We’re making huge strides at the club in creating opportunities for girls to play football and at the first match I was so proud to see how much fun the team were having. Team Manager Paul Showell shares our belief that football improves self esteem and in the right environment fosters new friendships that can last a lifetime.” Southwater Royals Girls Team play their home games on Sunday mornings at Horsham’s Millais School, kicking off at 11.30 am and if you have a daughter in school years 4, 5, 6 or 7 and they’d like to get involved in football then open training sessions are held every Monday evening from 6pm at Farlington School on a pay as you go basis. New joiners are assured of a good welcome and Andy New will be happy to supply any further details needed – via firstname.lastname@example.org. The club is also looking for a sponsor to kit out the girls with rain jackets, so if any company would like to support the club in that way, promoting their business at the same time, then Andy New would be delighted to hear from them.