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Football Offers New Future For the Girls of Merrist Wood College

Published on: 31 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 31 Jan, 2021

Ben Hughes

Ben Hughes is the new girls’ football development officer in the sports team at Merrist Wood College. And he has a vision for the future of girls’ football.

His infectious enthusiasm won him the job, a role he undertakes while studying for a Level Three sports development diploma.

Keen sportsman Ben plays for Metropolitan Police FC in Molesey, his grandfather played for Fulham FC and his mother is a physiotherapist, so a football career beckoned.

He said: “My job is primarily to increase the participation of females aged between 16 and18 within football.

“It’s not just about getting people playing football. There are so many different routes to get involved, whether that’s refereeing, coaching or managing.

“It’s my job to find reasons why female students don’t engage with football or consider it a viable career option and put together a programme which overcomes these barriers, giving students all the best opportunities to get involved with the sport.

“I work within the college and closely with Surrey FA, spreading the message, giving presentations to students and running fun, inclusive sessions to achieve this.”

Robbie Porter, the college’s football academy manager, said: “We are among 12 colleges in the country that were selected for the Female Football Development Officer Apprentice Programme in association with AOC Sport.

“After a robust selection process, we were excited to offer Ben the role at the college and are looking forward to working alongside him to support the development and opportunities for women to access football.

“Despite the restrictions Covid-19 has caused us, Ben has already started to implement some great ideas for our students. He’s developed good relationships with external organisations such as the Surrey FA to support further opportunities for Merrist Wood students.’”

Ben added: “One of our aims this year is to be able to feed some of the girls from the college into a Woking under-18s female team for the beginning of next season. I think this is a really exciting opportunity.”

For more information about the range of sports courses at Merrist Wood. please check merristwoodcollege.ac.uk or call Activate Learning on 0800 612 6008.

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