Author Topic: Dartford Ladies continue to prosper  (Read 1095 times)

Offline David

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Dartford Ladies continue to prosper
« on: July 04, 2007, 02:22:31 PM »
DARTFORD Ladies FC have enjoyed their most successful season to date in the club's seven-year history, despite most of it being off the pitch.

A pre-season amalgamation with the Evolution football academy strengthened the club's ability to look to the future, as far as initiating and delivering what is now proving to be a healthy youth development programme of girls' football.

The club attained charter standard (adult) club status at the start of a season, which saw the launch of a first junior side in the form of an 18-member under-12s squad.

They also undertook a season-long administration of Cobras FC, a nearby under-15s girls' team. Playing under the Dartford Ladies umbrella, the Cobras were co-managed by Terry Sherwood and former Dartford Ladies player Julie Sutherland and finished runners-up in the league as well as winning the Tina Marshall Trophy for the third successive season.

After pre-season funding from Dartford borough council to help place players on FA coaching courses, the club went on to be joint winners of the sports club of the year accolade in the council's annual sports awards evening.

The club also made a successful application to the football foundation and were awarded almost £9,000 to be released over a three-year period to develop girls' football in Dartford.

This aided the official launch of the weekly Football in the Community for girls sessions, which kicked off on the all-weather community pitch at Princes Park back in January.

Approximately 40 girls attend every Tuesday evening, and a new group for infant boys is starting to attract a regular attendance.

Dartford Ladies now have several qualified coaches among their playing and management team, and are looking to form a link-up with a senior school.

They are also applying for the status of charter standard club and plan to start the first seven-a-side mini-soccer girls' team in Dartford from their current Year 3 and Year 4 community players.

Besides co-managing the senior side, Dave Etherington and Catherine Fitzpatrick run the Evolution football academy.

They deliver extra-curricular classes at numerous primary schools in Bexley, Dartford and Swanley as well as Saturday morning sessions at Swanley Technology College and Bexley Grammar School for Girls.

With the future looking promising, both parties are looking for interest or sponsorship from companies who would like to be pro-active in the development of girls' and primary school football in Dartford and surrounding villages.

Brian Page, chairman of Dartford Ladies, said: "This season has been a very important year for the club, which is very fortunate to have Princes Park as a venue, an association with Evolution and financial support from one of the major funding streams."

Former PE teacher Catherine Fitzpatrick added: "External support is extremely vital as we are looking to continue the development of the club and the community project at the rate we have witnessed in the last 12 months."

Infant boys aged between five and seven, and girls aged from five to 15, are welcome to attend the community sessions at Princes Park between 7pm and 8pm on Tuesday evenings.

Players aged 16 or over with previous footballing experience are invited to attend training sessions with the senior squad when they resume at 8pm on July 3.

For further information, call Brian Page on 07833 640800 or Catherine Fitzpatrick on 07825 177714.