New girls' grassroots team looking to provide football opportunities and more

PUBLISHED: 10:52 06 July 2017

Onslow St Audrey's Elite is the new grassroots girls' football team.

Onslow St Audrey's Elite is the new grassroots girls' football team.


A school in Hatfield is looking to encourage more girls to play football while exploring a myriad of opportunities by setting up a grassroots team.

Onslow St Audrey’s already run a football academy alongside their sixth form education but they have taken the decision to set-up a younger side with the aim of encouraging more girls to take up the game and open their eyes to what’s on offer in the wider world.

OSA Elite U15 Purple is the only team so far but team manager and coach Gary Bailey has big plans.

He said: “We’ve already done quite a lot trying to build what we have here to try and grow the girls’ side of the game especially.

“Getting players for the girls’ is a real struggle even though the sport is getting bigger.

“But when we were thinking of what we wanted, I thought we should set up a grassroots team.

“I didn’t think we needed a boys’ team as there are so many boys’ teams out there but not so many for the girls.

“I was looking at creating a blueprint for how we feed into what we do here.

“The whole aim is I want these girls to see there is more than just football; that there’s a pathway.

“With this team I’ve got 15 players signed on and they’ll play in the Herts Sports Partnership Girls’ League and we’ve linked both OSA Elite and our girls’ programme to Luton Town.

“I wanted to replicate as close to an academy experience because we need them to keep enjoying it.”

The current OSA academy is for students over 16 and allows them to study A-Levels, BTECs or both, while still playing football.

Bailey added: “From here it could be a US scholarship. We’ve had eight of our girls this year given the chance and two have taken it up.

“That means four years at university, degrees and playing football out there.

“This is that pathway. There are opportunities out there.”

Bailey says he is already getting enquiries from girls of various ages about joining.

“There will be leaflets going out soon and then people can just apply,” he said.

“We’ll then sit down and see what sort of numbers we’ve got in each age groups.

“There are no trials, you don’t have to be the best, it’s literally let’s get them in and playing.”

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