You don’t have to be good at it – all ages and abilities are welcome. Enthusiasm is all they’re after. Hackney Laces is a football club for girls who just want to play football.
Every Tuesday evening at the Stoke Newington School and Thursday evenings at Haggerston Park Astro, dozens of young women meet to play the beautiful game. It started in 2011 as a place for girls and women in the community to come and play football; there just wasn’t enough opportunities for them. It now has teams for the under 14s, under 16s and the over 16s.
According to Jess Lamond, player/trainer, “the older girls are more competitive.”
Originally, hailing from California, Jess grew up playing ‘soccer’ since she was five and continued through university. “There are more women involved in soccer. It’s so big in the States.” After moving to London Jess wanted to continue playing and joined the newly formed Hackney Laces.
“I hope they (the girls) have a continued involvement both on and off the pitch. When they first join we ask the girls what do they want to be when they grow up. Most answer, ‘I want to be famous, I want to be on X-factor’. We re-evaluate them after three and then again at six months and it’s amazing the change in their answers. ‘I want to be a physio, I want to be a mid-wife or a professional footballer’.”
Hackney Laces gains funding through grants and by giving talks. Barclay Sport and Awesome Foundation are two supporters. “It takes a lot of time just doing the research of whose got the money. We ask everyone who has some sort of a connection. We are all volunteers. Everything is free. All the coaches have full time jobs and give their time ‘pro bono’. We only joined a league last year and it’s so expensive.”
Considering the poor results of the national ‘boys’ teams, the future may lay with the girls. With the recent selling off of so many school sports facilities, it is the ‘pro bono’ effort and enthusiasm of Hackney Laces that takes up the slack in both training and facilities for girls of all ages to play the beautiful game.
“Come on you Laces!”
To find out more visit their website