Our award-winning Solidarity Soccer initiative is our innovative, informal women’s football training engaging women (16+) of any experience and ability in non-competitive football. It is a great introduction to our alternative ethos, playing style and approach as a club.
Solidarity Soccer has received funding and support from the Big Lottery Fund, Freshgate Trust Foundation, Yorkshire Sport Foundation, Scurrah Wainwright Charity, The Postcode Community Trust, Sheffield Town Trust and the JG Graves Charitable Trust and we are incredible thankful for this.
Started as an inclusive “co-ed” concept at local parks during AFC Unity manager Jay Baker’s time in Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada, Solidarity Soccer has been developed with co-founder Jane Watkinson to emphasise that football can be a force for good, increasing confidence in life and interpersonal skills and body image, improving health and fitness whilst breaking down barriers and divisions that exist in society. As part of this, the sessions incorporate key aspects of our Create Space project, which was about encouraging women to reclaim and use public space, which is often male dominated especially when it comes to playing football, and break down gender stereotypes with women playing football together as a collective in a public space.
We engage women who have never kicked a ball before, wanting to return after an injury or regain fitness or women who are wanting to get more football practice in. It is an innovative form of football training where we use technology and have digital awards. As part of the session, we run “Tech and Tekkers” where women can learn new footballing technical skills (Tekkers) – such as the Cruyff Turn, Stepover and the Double Dragback – with the women’s development captured using technology (Tech) to produce a short video each month.