We spoke with Kelsey Godwin who has been taking part in our weekly beginner football sessions since the end of April. Kelsey has been a revelation, progressing greatly in a short space of time after being initially scared and unsure of what to expect from the trainings! We are so happy Kelsey is involved with the club and are very excited to watch her progress with Kelsey also taking part in our soon to launch 5-a-side team.
Kelsey’s answers provide a feel for the training sessions we run aside from our first team training, with a focus on engaging women that are new to the sport, have limited experience in playing or who have been out for a while and want to ease themselves back into the game. The sessions are focused on being inclusive and welcome and are open to all women over 16 years old. Please get in touch if this sounds like the thing for you!
AFC Unity: What is your experience with football? Have you played much before getting involved with AFC Unity?
Kelsey: My previous experience of football was very little since leaving primary school. I had a little bit of experience throughout the last couple of years during primary school; I played for the girl’s team for a couple of years during year 5 and 6; although that is now over ten years ago!
AFC Unity: Why did you get involved in the football sessions?
Kelsey: I got involved in the football sessions due to one of my friends playing for the first team, she told me that AFC Unity was holding some beginner sessions for those who were wanting to get into football, and said that I might enjoy it. Prior to this I had never thought about going football training or even kicking a ball about, even though I really enjoyed it when I was younger.
AFC Unity: How have you found the football sessions?
Kelsey: I was absolutely petrified about coming to the first training session! Although when I got to the training session everyone was so friendly and welcoming, I really had nothing to worry about in the slightest! I think the nerves got the better of me. The atmosphere throughout the first training was great and all the coaches put me at ease; the group of girls taking part all introduced themselves to me and this made me feel less apprehensive. Throughout the night I became much more comfortable and felt I could really get stuck in without having to worry about anything.
Every other training session I have been to has been the same; fun, fantastic and friendly! The atmosphere always has a positive vibe about it. Most people go through the week dreading when Monday’s come round, however this is the day I most look forward to, due to having the football sessions on this day!
AFC Unity: What has been your best experience so far at the trainings?
Kelsey: My best experience so far has got to be the “try it out” moment; if I hadn’t have come to the first training session I wouldn’t have known how much I enjoy the sport! Every session has been equally enjoyable, even in the pouring down rain! Each session gives a variety of new training skills and styles to learn, and we always get the choice as a group of what we would like to focus on in the training sessions.
AFC Unity: What do you think is the biggest barrier for women getting involved in football?
Kelsey: Without a doubt stereotyping, judgemental attitudes and the media. I think these three things are the main barriers to why women don’t want to and won’t get involved within football as a sport.
In society, for me it was always seen as a “boys” sport and that it is something that only boys should participate in, although throughout primary school this didn’t bother me, I was always found in the playground having a kick about with the boys and the odd girl, and it was great. Although in my first year of secondary school something changed; I was more aware of what people thought about it and that they was making fun of me for playing something that “boys” played. You would often get the mick took out of you asking if you was a girl because you was playing a “boys” sport – this was one of the main reasons I haven’t participated in football sport since.
AFC Unity: Would you recommend the sessions to other women that might not have thought about giving football a go?
Kelsey: I would highly recommend the session to other women and already have to a few! I’ve been in the exact same position, not even thinking about kicking a football but I gave it a go and I had so much fun. The sport might not be for everyone, but how will you know if you don’t give it a go? You might be surprised at how much you actually enjoy it, like I was!
AFC Unity: What would you say to girls and women thinking about getting involved in the sport but doubting if they should?
Kelsey: I’d say give it a go! It’s a fun and friendly atmosphere and has a real sense of uplifting spirit about it. Nobody is here to judge, it’s somewhere where you can let your hair down and get involved in a great sport with great people around you.
AFC Unity: Any final thoughts?
Kelsey: If you are thinking of getting involved in the sport, I would without a doubt get in contact with Jay or Jane about the sessions that are held at AFC Unity, and we would all love to see you come along and participate in the fun!