When Dan Dowson, PE Coordinator at Shirley Heath Junior School in Birmingham, decided to start a girls’ football team he was amazed at the response he received. A total of 56 girls attended trials and Dan eventually manged to select a squad of 16 very enthusiastic players.
The team didn’t have any proper kit to play in, so Dan, being keen to make sure the girls were properly turned out on match days, wrote to as many professional football academies in the West Midlands area that he could think of, to see if any of them might be able to help.
“We received this request for donation of any surplus U11’s strips completely out of the blue.” Said Vale Academy Manager Sevvy Aslam. “It came just as we had upgraded all the Academy to the new Errea strips, so we had no hesitation in offering our support.”
“All we asked from Dan in return is that he would look out for any prospective talented players in the 9 to 11 age group in his local area and recommend them to us first.”
Dan was happy with the Vale Academy’s offer and delighted to receive the surplus strips. He added “The Port Vale Academy reaction to my request was so generous and the girls are very proud to have their own numbered kit. “It means that they now each have their own squad number and I am sure they think they are professional footballers, but this is fantastic to witness. “I still cannot thank the Academy enough for their kind offerings.”
Dan continued, “This has really promoted not just girls’ football at our school, but girls’ sport in general and we now have 16 fantastic ambassadors for girls’ sport here at Shirley Heath. “We have played four matches so far this season and have won three of these.”
“The kit that Port Vale offered us has helped us so much. We are high in our league and do have aspirations of winning the league and becoming the best team in Solihull. “This is definitely something we could not have done without the support of the Port Vale Academy, which we really appreciate here at Shirley Heath Junior School.”