We spoke with long-term Solidarity Soccer attendee, Laura Strafford, about her experiences attending the weekly innovative, informal women’s football training engaging women (16+) of any experience and ability in non-competitive football.
Solidarity Soccer is a great introduction to our alternative ethos, playing style and approach as a club and runs at the U-Mix Centre, Wednesdays, 7-8pm. Get in touch to get involved!
AFC Unity: In a few words, how would you describe Solidarity Soccer to someone who hasn’t been?
Laura: Solidarity Soccer is a really fun way to learn/improve skills and meet some great people in a non-competitive atmosphere. There is no pressure or judgement, just an emphasis on positivity and inclusivity. It’s such a friendly environment and everyone is treated equally, regardless of experience or ability.
AFC Unity: Do you have any stories that stand out from your time of being involved in Solidarity Soccer?
Laura: I didn’t intentionally join Solidarity Soccer! I was just at the sports centre after a swim when another participant came over for a chat whilst she was waiting for the session to begin. She described the sessions to me and told me how fun it was and encouraged me to give it a go. Over a year later I still attend regularly (thanks Sarah!) This is a good example of the attitude of the group – it’s super friendly, engaging and supportive.
AFC Unity: Has Solidarity Soccer had an impact on your outside football life?
Laura: Through it I have met some great people which has led me to start playing 5-a side and also begin to attend another socially-inclusive women’s football group. I realise this doesn’t really count as outside football life though….! Generally the sessions have improved my fitness, communication and confidence too.
AFC Unity: Has Solidarity Soccer helped you with 11-a-side football at all?
I’m currently not looking to play 11-a-side, although if I were to change my mind, the skills I have learnt from Solidarity Soccer would certainly help – the sessions cover several core themes and skills central to the game and as such I feel as though I have a much better understanding of it. The sessions also really help to build confidence in playing.
AFC Unity: If you could pick one word to describe Solidarity Soccer what would it be?
AFC Unity: What has been your favourite skill to learn and why?
All the skills are fun to learn although some are definitely more tricky than others! Maybe the Cruyff turn, as it’s simple yet effective!
AFC Unity: Anything else to add?
Thanks for putting up with me for so long!