Jarvis_Sidley_270422_100–.JPG | Simon Roe Photography

by -413 views

Happy 5th Birthday to us!

While there are so many people missing playing football game at the moment, who would take thought, that five years agone many “older” women who had never played football before would be saying the same?!

This is meant to look like a 5!

In these unprecedented times of Covid-xix heroes, sadness and working from home, there are Lockdown football game challenges (even some of the simple ones are quite a challenge!) which are keeping our football game activity alive.  At that place is also plenty of humour in watching some of those activities, especially when it comes to the COGS!  Kathryn always has u.s. laughing with her antics!

On Monday 16th
April 2015, at 6.15pm, later on assistance from both Amy Fazackerley (Crawley Boondocks Community Foundation) and Nicol Meredith (EFL Trust) and a rallying phone call from Carol Bates (anile 48 at the fourth dimension) to Facebook friends and sideline Mums, the date had arrived for a new type of football session.  An idea from Ballad for a session for “older” women to learn to play football was well-nigh to go existent.  The term “older” was loosely translated to anyone who wasn’t a spring craven, had no experience playing football and simply wanted to have some fun with a ball, make new friends and possibly gain some skills along the manner.

With some funding from the EFL Trust for ten weeks and the session provided past the Crawley Town Community Foundation, 10 women turned up on the first night.  Information technology was fun, we ached from laughing and doing the Liam Gallagher and Kim Kardashian stretches and we actually constitute we could kick a ball to each other!  It may not have gone exactly where we wanted to laissez passer it merely no one cared, we just wanted more……

We grew from ten on that first night to over 150 women on the books, five years later.  Everyone comes when they tin, at that place is no commitment every week, as women have decorated lives.   Everyone is welcome.

Throughout the last 5 years, we are humbled to accept been involved with some incredible events with the FA.  Nosotros have won some amazing National and Local Awards, been the subject of short TV films, radio interviews and paper articles (all of which have reached more women and inspired some of them to either start playing or set up their ain groups) and been invited to some prestigious events.  We’ve been very lucky and even had a visit, in 2017, from the Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, which was fantastic.

Ane of the about rewarding things during this fourth dimension, is that we have seen over 150 women join u.s. at one time or another, the majority of whom have never played before, and to run across their progress from non being able to play, to playing in matches with a smiling on their faces is just brilliant.

Football game is a great activity to increment confidence, cocky-esteem, mental/concrete well-being and fitness, and we are of the belief that anyone can play because is doesn’t matter how good (or not so expert) you are, to us it’s all about participating, having fun and enjoying beingness active.  From starting with 10 women on that first dark, we now have 4 sessions per calendar week which cover all abilities.  Whether you are a beginner with no experience, someone who has a limited amount of experience, someone who wants to come dorsum into the game or just someone who wants a slower paced version of the game, COGS has a session for everyone, each week, 50 weeks of the year.  And yes, for only a few hours, Hashemite kingdom of jordan Nobbs was a COG, in 2015!  How lucky we were!

Since nosotros started, in 2015, at that place have been many other teams and groups who accept started up and who also accept the aforementioned ethos about just having fun while playing.  This, we believe is why, what nosotros now call Women’s Recreational Football, is probably ane of the fastest growing genres of the Women’s game.  Women’s Recreational Football game is supported by the FA, with local County FAs running participation Festivals and competitive Leagues also as other Clubs running their own Festivals/Tournaments.  We now have Women’due south Walking Football, too, which helps not only women over 40 who want to play a slower paced version of the game only women who are coming dorsum into the game who may have had an injury or only want to walk instead of run.   There is too the opportunity, separately, to download a football activity session called Soccercise, from the FA website, which includes football exercises too, then in that location is something for everyone.

During those 5 years, we have run some small Festivals and a National Women’south Recreational Football Festival where over 200 women came to Crawley to just play for fun.  Virtually recently, we organised the Old Girls’ “World Loving cup” with the Canterbury Old Bags, in France, which was an amazing success.  We were due to hold #COGSFEST20 in 10 days’ time too but for obvious reasons that is now on hold, but it goes to show how pop Women’s Recreational Football is becoming when 32 team spaces were booked within a calendar week!  Amazing.  There are also some groovy Festivals and Tournaments being held around the Country on a regular basis.

One of our proudest moments came off the pitch, when just over a year ago, nosotros started up our COGS & Care Homes project.  Not only is this 1 of the nearly rewarding part of COGS, it’due south enabled us to give something back to the Community.  Francis Court Care Habitation is a wonderful place which houses dementia patients, as well as others, and nosotros utilise the power of football to bring some fun to the residents on a Sunday morning time every 6/8 weeks.   They love it, we love information technology and nosotros hope that this can be replicated in more than places in the future.


Nosotros spoke to a few women who told us what being able to play football at a after historic period meant to them.  Firstly, we spoke to some of our COGS, new and onetime, and asked them how they felt nearly at present being able to play football, having non played previously:

Sandra Rees (52), was ane of the original x:

“I was 47 when I started, at present I’1000 52!  That’s…..  five years of learning to play football!  v years of making new friends!  v years of enjoyment! Couldn’t alive without information technology!  It’south changed my life in so many ways.  Happy 5th Birthday to united states of america COGS!”

Pauline Maddocks (61), joined 3 weeks after the start session:

“The all-time conclusion I ever made was joining COGS 5 years agone.  I have go confident, approachable, made loads of friends, developed skills and found my playing position every bit the “Rock in defence”, a nickname given to me past Marcus which has stuck. I  am a happy, fat, fit 61 twelvemonth old who doesn’t want this football journey to end.”
We hope Mr. M. comes a shut 2d, Rock!!

Kerry Jinks (37), joined COGS in Jan 2018:

“Joining COGS has been a real game changer for me.   I have made some fantastic friends over the concluding couple of years and tin’t imagine my life without you all.  I have never laughed and so much and I honey being around yous all.  COGS is a slap-up way to become fit and brand new friends and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.”

Louise Camby (45), joined COGS in April 2019:

“I joined COGS last year and have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this fabulous ladies football community. Loved making new friends, enjoying practise in a team environment, learning and affectionate the skill of playing football and taking part in festivals and collecting medals! Information technology’s brilliant!”

Tricia Williams (48), joined our Walking Football game session in January 2020:

“I joined the COGS walking football game in January 2020 as with my children getting older, I was swell to take on an activity for me to improve my fitness and make new friends. I love the walking football sessions, they are peachy fun and an hour flies by.”

Debbie Tippett (45), joined our Walking Football session in January and also now attends the Beginners’ session, likewise:

“COGS has brought me new friends, do that I savour and near chiefly a confidence that I’d lost. Anybody is so warm and welcoming. Love information technology!”

We also spoke to
Jo Treharne
who founded the
Canterbury Old Bags, in January 2017 and
Caroline Jones (CJ)
who along with Kate & Andrea, founded
Hot Women FC,
in Baronial last year, afterwards watching the FIFA Women’southward Globe Cup.  The “Hotties”, every bit they refer to themselves, also started up a Women’s Recreational Football podcast, which has been fantastic!  You can detect it on the usual platforms under “Hot Shots”.  Women’s Recreational Football really has come a long manner!

Jo Treharne, Founder of the Canterbury Quondam Numberless, proudly said:

Since ‘spotting’ Carol on the BBC talking most the COGS, our own little project in Canterbury has gone from force to strength, with new members and new sessions being developed all the time in improver to our normal Thursday recreational grouping. Several of the bags have developed their game further, with around nine of the team at present playing regular league football for Faversham Strike Forcefulness women’due south team, and our bright Ally Walters taking over as jitney. We’ve also adult our Futsal programme with Catherine ‘Bradders’ Bradley organising a Canterbury recreational league which has seen 2 numberless squads compete with teams from beyond Eastward Kent. Bradders, Ally and Jo have also qualified every bit Level ane Futsal coaches, and Emma, Ally and Chloe have completed their level one FA badges. Several other bags are planning to have their badges soon and Chloe, Emma, Jo and Millie also jitney the Faversham Wildcats on a Sunday morning! Helping the side by side generation of female footballers. Nosotros have also teamed up with local club Canterbury Eagles to offering Wildcats sessions for girls – starting in 2020. That’s not to mention the socials, the parties, the babies (eight at the final count!), the support and the fun that nosotros take had. And so from tiny acorns so many mighty oaks have grown! Happy fifth birthday COGS – look what y’all started!

CJ, from Hot Women FC, enthused:

“Autonomously from the joy of just playing football game, Hot Women FC gives us reason to get fit and stay fit in a really enjoyable and inclusive way.  And through football game, our small-scale group of founding friends has widened to become a broader customs of footie-mad Hotties.”


And then what we want to say really, is that if yous’ve ever wondered what information technology would exist like to larn to play football at a later historic period or if yous’ve ever thought, I’m not good enough to play every bit I don’t have whatever feel or am non the right shape or size, you lot’re exactly the sort of person who would dearest the sessions!  If you’ve played earlier and fallen out of the game due to family, injuries, not enough time, or not beingness able to commit to anything, yous’re exactly the sort of person who would love the sessions!  Our non-judgemental sessions are held, without commitment, you turn up when you tin, y’all come and have fun with u.s.a. when you can and you can make all kinds of new friends in women that you may never accept met!

Non only has COGS provided a community of women the opportunity to play football game, the knock-on effects from that are substantial in terms of supporting the Women’s game, in general.  Quite a few COGS are now football coaches, with some running new girls’ teams, some accept completed Referee courses and officiate in matches and many COGS now nourish/lookout the professional Women’south game as well as games below that.  Some have fifty-fifty returned to playing League football game!

A few COGS along with members of other Women’s Rec. teams travelled to the World Cup in France and take followed the Lionesses to other places also.  Information technology’s a great knock-on effect.  The modest steps taken to starting time learning to play football can lead you lot to even bigger steps in helping grow the Women’s game.   Become on Board, it really is great fun when you lot all go together!

When we can get back to playing, we will go on to promote and enjoy trying to go more than opportunities for women everywhere to be able to play and we hope, in the next 5 years, that many more women will benefit from what we’ve been having fun from for the last five years.

Nosotros’ve laughed together, we’ve got drunk together (this is quite common amongst the women and groups we know!), we’ve cried together, we’ve bonded together and all because of a football!  Just give it a go, y’all never know how much your life will alter.

Just recall, you lot’re never too old and it’s never besides late!

We’ll certainly exist having a beverage this evening (at abode) to gloat!  Happy Altogether to u.s.a.!

Source: https://www.crawley-cogs.co.uk/five-years-of-fun-friends-football-and-fitness-16th-april-2020/