Get To Know... is a series where we highlight sport organisations, clubs, and charities around the world and dive into all things behind the scene. This week, we’re shining the spotlight on Ashmount Leigh Football Club, a women's football club in Nutfield Village, Surrey - England.
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Sporting Her writer Louisa Okolobe recently sat down with the founders of Ashmount Leigh Football Club to discuss all things football and club set up.
ASHMOUNT LEIGH FC
There is a silver lining in every cloud. The COVID-19 global pandemic came with devastating effects and challenges for many. For Danielle Boyd (Chairperson), Charlotte Barnham (Vice-Chairperson), and Holly Walker (Manager), it also came with the free time to work on something they have been passionate about but never had the spare time. Setting up their own women's football club.
The name “Ashmount Leigh Football Club” was inspired by Danielle and Charlotte’s alma mater in the United States were they played collegiate soccer. Leigh is in honour of the grandfather of their club secretary Rosanne Fine.
The club was set up because Danielle and Charlotte realised the lack of opportunities for women who wished to train in a professional setting in and around Surrey. It was founded to help develop individuals and equip them to succeed, and with the founders experience of playing in professional settings, who better to know what the players need to develop their game than these three women.
OPEN TO EVERYONE
Ashmount Leigh FC will be competing in the League Cup, County Cup, and FA Cup in the 21/22 season. The club began their football trials at the beginning of June and will be running them until mid-July, with pre-season friendlies due to start at the end of July. So far the club has seen a great turn-out at the trials but there's room for more women to get involved. So, if you're a woman in the Surrey area interested in joining an inclusive and welcoming football club, Ashmount Leigh FC is open to everyone. Just submit your interest here and be part of their journey.
Danielle, Charlotte and Holly are all in agreement about the kind of individuals they want at their club. “We want good people who are willing to develop themselves. Women who still have a passion for the game”. The club is dedicated to the development of players and whilst a basic fitness level is required, there's more to a player than their fitness. “Physical fitness is not all that matters because players have different abilities”.
Ashmount Leigh FC believes that anyone who loves the game should be able to play. The club are committed to having a positive impact on the community through increasing local participation in sport and providing a safe and welcoming place for anyone over the age of 16 to get active. That is why the club wants to subsidise membership fees and cost of training kits for those who may not be able to afford it. This couldn't be possible without the incredible support from their sponsors: Cantails, Pro Direct Surfacing, Frost-Jackson Decorating Contractors, Redhill Kebab Shop, and Tiny Tekkers - Incredible local businesses who supported the club despite the challenges of the pandemic.
So far they have been able to work with sponsors to ensure that the club has the financial ability to assist the players once they start training to provide equipment and membership deductions where neccesary. If you're interested in sponsoring Ashmount Leigh FC, they are still looking for businesses to join the club. Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter, or message the club directly on twitter. Sponsorship is more than just a payday for the club, it is an opportunity for a business and its team to support the community through sport and be part of a positive change. It's about building a relationship and becoming part of Ashmount Leigh FC.
Whilst the clubs journey has just begun, they are proud to be in the position to offer more women the opportunity to put on a pair of football boots. "Women deserve the opportunity to play sport alongside men opposed to after men. Creating a women's club means they are at the forefront of the clubs thoughts and ideas" - Danielle.
Danielle, Charlotte and Holly's advice to anyone wanting to set up their own club is that things take time. "Organisation is key but also give yourself more time than you expect, some aspects of the process are out of your control e.g. the charity commission application being accepted, bank accounts being opened etc. Some of these took a while longer for us due to being in the middle of the Covid pandemic." Hard work and determination pays off, a true inspiration to girls and women who want to follow in their footsteps.
Ashmount Leigh Football Club's journey may have only just begun, but it's a journey you should follow.
FOLLOW & SUPPORT ASHMOUNT LEIGH FC