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Brent Schools FA chairman Chris Ampofo has high hopes for borough’s girls

PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:55 30 March 2020

The Brent U13 girls team. Picture: Brent Schools FA

The Brent U13 girls team. Picture: Brent Schools FA

Archant

With Brent having helped produce players such as Raheem Sterling, Luther Blissett and Cyrille Regis in the past, Brent Schools FA chairman Chris Ampofo believes the borough can also develop similar talents for the women’s game.

The Brent U11 girls team. Picture: Brent Schools FAThe Brent U11 girls team. Picture: Brent Schools FA

Ampofo, who played for West Ham as a youngster and lifted the FA Youth Cup in 1980, has been in his current position for the last 10 years and has helped oversee the growth of girls football in Brent since the borough took part in one of the FA’s first Wildcats schemes three years ago.

The Wildcats initiative aims to give girls aged five to 11 the chance to play football and Ampofo, who also coaches the girls under-13 team, has been delighted with how things have progressed since then.

“What’s happened more recently is, with the FA drive to get women and girls football going, we’ve started to have a crack at developing girls football,” he explained.

“It’s been super successful. We took part in the very first pilot of the Wildcats project. The idea is a drop-in where girls aged five to 11 to have a session.

The Brent U10s girls football team. Picture: Brent Schools FAThe Brent U10s girls football team. Picture: Brent Schools FA

“It seems like yesterday but from the wildcats we’ve now got four girls teams at under-10, 11, 12 and 13.

“My wife said to me ‘there’s lots of guys who take the boys teams but I think the girls need a bit more help’.

“Having three daughters I thought okay we’ll give it a go. It’s been unbelievable, fantastic and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“We found originally when we started with the Wildcats there was this idea that no one knew whether the girls would be that keen to play competitively.

Mike Spinks (England Schools, left) Rachel Yankey and Chris Ampofo (Brent Schools, right). Picture: Brent Schools FAMike Spinks (England Schools, left) Rachel Yankey and Chris Ampofo (Brent Schools, right). Picture: Brent Schools FA

“But they were just as keen as anybody else to play competitively which is why so quickly we’ve had four teams.

“We could easily have another two teams but we just need more volunteers to come and support the teams.”

The Brent youth teams have had their seasons cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the under-13s on the brink of winning their league.

Both the under-10s and under-11s have just had their first season and Ampofo says a lot of the girls have the ability to go on and achieve big things in the game.

He added: “I’m very confident that a lot of the girls who play for Brent could go on and make a living out of the game. The talent is getting better and better.

“Some of the girls play for Brent then Middlesex. One of the Middlesex girls has actually played for England.

“The talent is unbelievable. Some of the girls are fantastic in the U13 team and are improving all the time.

“With the quality of coaching improving and access to resources I think there will be a lot to come.”

Two new Wildcats centres are being opened in Brent in September. If you are interested in volunteering at Brent, email Chris Ampofo on chris@hpqgroup.com.


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