England star Amy Turner meets the next generation of lionesses

The world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, today welcomed back former player and England Lioness Amy Turner to help inspire the footballing starts of the future.

The defender was taking part in a new girls-only coaching programme being led by The FA and SSE, which is designed not only to introduce girls to the fundamental skills of the game but also break the myth that football is a ‘game for boys’.

England and Notts County star Turner, who played for Sheffield FC in 2012, believes the increasing success of the women’s game can help break down barriers in the sport and encourage more young girls to get involved in football. She said:  “The number of girls here today was unbelievable, it shows just how much the game has come on and it’s great for the club and the area. We need to ensure girls enjoy playing the game and the girl’s united programme from The FA and SSE allows them to do just that.”

The sessions are run by Sheffield FC Ladies General Manager and former player Helen Mitchell and regularly see more than 30 St Maries Primary School girls take part. Helen is determined to see this number grow and encourage more girls to take to the pitch. She added: “It’s hugely important we let girls enjoy the game from an early age, getting a first taste of football in an environment that allows them to flourish. Sheffield FC has a great history of promoting the women’s game and we’re proud to be a part of this new initiative.”

The programme has already seen more than 60 clubs throughout the divisions sign up to receive funding to create girls’ only coaching sessions and build new competitive playing squads for girls between the ages of five and 14.

Sheffield FC Ladies, the first club to earn promotion to WSL2, is one of five clubs in the Yorkshire area to be taking part in the programme, with Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford and Hull all committing to deliver similar sessions to a new generation of footballers.

Alan Young, SSE’s Managing Director of Corporate Affairs, said: “SSE is exceptionally proud to be sponsoring the SSE Women’s FA Cup and supporting the grassroots game, inspiring and encouraging more girls to take up the sport.

“For us this sponsorship not only brings huge awareness at the senior level of the game but most importantly will help dramatically increase the opportunities for girls to get involved in football.

“We’re delighted so many teams have signed up to take part and are helping deliver coaching sessions across the country to the next generation of footballers.”

To find out more about the work SSE is doing in women’s football as part of their #SSEGirlsUnited campaign, visit: www.SSE.co.uk/girls-united.