Sad season start in controversial clash

BelieveUnityAFC Unity’s quest to promote fair play that was enjoyed through pre-season friendlies was tragically jeopardised in an opening league game that saw them almost immediately go down to ten players and lose 0-7 to top-of-table Beighton Magpies.

The sending-off has resulted in the guilty player being removed from the first team entirely.

“The game was overshadowed by so many things,” said manager Jay Baker. “Obviously, it was always going to be a tough game. At 0-2 we had a player get sent off about twenty minutes in for something stupid and unforgivable, and then we were 0-3 down by half-time. In the second half, all you can hope to do is hold it together, and we let four more in when they were naturally playing keep-ball to wear us out. Again, we showed guts to battle like that, especially with the injuries we incurred and the abuse we were having to face.”

Baker is planning to take action to the County FA following the incidents in the game. “If a player does something wrong, we take action – and we’ve done that,” he said, referring to the removal of the player who was sent off, having violated the club’s written Respect Code that she signed. “But several of my players were so deeply upset by the language and bullying behaviour they were subjected to, and I’d hope others deal with that, too. I can’t say any more at this time, but suffice to say I will need reassurances that it won’t happen again because I personally refuse to subject my players to that in the future.”

“Life’s too short,” he added, “and we just want to play soccer and promote decency, and with these decisions we’ve made, we’re proving we’ll do just that. We’re only going to grow and get better as a team and as a club.”

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Thank you to Neil Hudgell Trust…

HudgellTrust_LogoAFC Unity were very fortunate to receive a £500.00 grant from Neil Hudgell Trust to help with the purchase of equipment and resources invaluable for the club’s long-term sustainability.

The grant enabled AFC Unity to put logos onto their home shirts and numbers onto their away shirts alongside the club purchasing new training materials such as cones, football bibs, footballs, an agility ladder and even some rain capes for those upcoming winter matches.

AFC Unity are immensely grateful to Neil Hudgell Trust for helping the team’s first season in the Sheffield and Hallamshire Women’s County League be a fun and well resourced one alongside furthering the ongoing sustainability of the informal training sessions that women are able to attend when wanting to get involved in football for the first time, develop their skills or gradually get back involved in the game (see here for more).

AFC Unity launches new training sessions for beginners…

AFC Unity started back in February this year with the help of the FA’s Just Play funding that enabled the club to run ten 1 hour training sessions at Sheffield’s U-Mix Centre, engaging a total of 23 women with a core of 16 players, with most registering for AFC Unity’s first ever season in the Sheffield and Hallamshire Women’s County Football League, Division 3, that starts this Sunday at Hillsborough College against Hemsworth South, 2pm kick off.  10401459_756725461036916_4438804349854862960_n

The training sessions engaged a mix of women from different backgrounds and also varying skill levels, which is important as the club wants to include a wide range of women in the game and break down barriers any women may face when getting involved. This is especially important given that there are 12 men for every woman taking part in football with 91,800 women wanting to play more football, and football is the most popular team sport for women (Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation statistics 2012).

AFC Unity was recently successful with a new Just Play application so that they can carry on providing informal, intermediate training opportunities for women in Sheffield and beyond at the U-Mix Centre, whilst also providing a training session for their registered players at Hillsborough College, with the new season just around the corner.

If you are interested in taking part in our new training sessions, they start from this Saturday, September 20th, 12pm-1pm at the U-Mix Centre, 17 Asline Road, Lowfield, Sheffield, S2 4UJ. It is only £1.00 per session and make sure to bring non-metal studded boots because the surface is astroturf.

We hope to see some new faces at the training sessions starting this Saturday. There are also opportunities for progression into the main team to play affiliated league football too. Participants will also be part of a community rooted football club that will be running projects as a way to break down barriers and engage more women in football and also reduce divisions in society through the sport.

Please get in touch for more either on Twitter, Facebook or email us at afcunity@gmail.com

If you want to know more about AFC Unity and our training sessions, there is a selection of quotations below regarding some of the players’ experiences with AFC Unity:

10377155_742690989107030_5161193301262456154_n“A brilliant club, that is not only about playing football but also about raising awareness for racial, sexual and many other discriminations still happening in football around the world.”

“I really wanted to start playing football again as it was a massive part of my life! I wanted to get involved with AFC Unity particularly because of the ethos and the future of being involved with the team.”

“I got involved because I want to play, have fun, stay fit, meet others and make friends.”

“Very welcoming and friendly bunch which has been great for me as I am fairly shy. Also, I like the way that everyone has a genuine passion for the game and there are clear goals to make the club a permanent fixture.”

“The club is very friendly and understanding. It’s just unique; we are all from different ethnicities and backgrounds coming together to play as one.”

“I think the managing of the whole thing is really good; there’s brilliant communication.”

“I have played for 3 teams previously but not one of them has been as developed and enjoyable as AFC Unity. More people should be aware of the club.”

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