Female footballers share excitement of long-awaited return to grassroots game
- Credit: Archant
It has been a difficult yet exciting prospect of returning to the grassroots game for two female players, and despite added responsibilities, they cannot wait to get started.
On November 1, Leverington Ladies reigned supreme with victory over Fulbourn Institute Bluebirds in the Cambridgeshire Women’s County League Premier Division, their final game before lockdown.
Leverington have not played since, and playing again is something Faye Kowalewsky and Amy Newell will not think twice about.
“We were chomping at the bit, and we are now!” Faye said. “I think for us, the main thing is being able to get out on the field and kick a ball together.
“We’re a tight-knit group; everyone’s chatting and wanting to go to training and matches to play,” Amy added.
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Both Faye and Amy are not oblivious to what changes have needed to be made to make the grassroots game a safe environment, such as sanitising goals and keeping two metres apart where possible.
It’s not been easy to adapt, but something that players needed to do if a return to action was ever likely.
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“I think everybody has adapted quickly; we’ve had to if we wanted to continue playing, and I think that’s the bottom line,” Faye said.
“Everybody is keen to continue playing, so we’ll do whatever we need to do in order to be able to play our sport.”
The grassroots game had to return in Amy’s view, one reason being to improve mental health for both adults and children, and she feels despite weeks away, the enthusiasm to play has never been lost.
“Everyone is trying to keep their fitness up and their touch, so we’ve still got that individual form when we do start again,” she said.
“The enthusiasm is always there; it’s just how we turn that into team cohesion on the pitch.”
Faye and Amy have seen rapid growth in the women’s game, both locally and nationally, both at senior and junior level.
But despite the Covid-19 pandemic taking its toll on the local game, they are adamant women’s football in the county still has a bright future ahead.
“Women’s football is in a better place than it was when I first started and the profile has been raised,” Faye said.
“We’ve seen teams come and go out of leagues over the years, but I think the local game is looking relatively healthy and I don’t think Covid will have an impact. I think there will still be a future for the game.”