Why am I so passionate about women’s and girls’ sport?.

Written by Natalie Doyle

January 19, 2024

Natalie Doyle playing football as a child

I thought I’d use this week’s blog post to talk about where my passion for women’s and girls’ sport started.

My earliest memories of sport are from PE at school, which is probably the case for most people. I always enjoyed PE lessons, mainly because it was chance to do something fun with my friends. I was never brilliant at sport, but I was ok. Me and my friends used to always have a laugh doing it and that was the part that really appealed to me.

When I was about 12 or 13, I started to really get into football. I was drawn to Liverpool as the team I wanted to support and it became a real passion of mine. I’d watch it on TV when I could (which wasn’t that often as we didn’t have Sky), and I loved wearing a football kit. I remember sometimes adults would ask me why I was always wearing football kit, or “Didn’t I want to wear something else?”, but I loved it! Even then I was aware that no-one would ever question a boy on why they were always wearing football kit, but it was different for girls.

My dad used to take me and my sister to matches and we’d play football in the park but there was no football offer for girls at school at that time.

When I was maybe 14 or 15, one of the teachers finally organised a girls’ football club at school. Me and some of my friends jumped at the chance to join. A lot of my friends were football fans. We started off just doing training and then our teacher started to arrange matches against other schools. They would usually be only 5-a-side, probably because there weren’t enough players for more than that. I used to love playing in those matches and having people come to watch. I remember we had this awful old kit that was massive for us and had a terrible pattern on it but we still used to get excited to put it on.

We then heard that a club nearby was setting up a girls’ football session. Me and some of my friends wanted to go so we asked if we could join. It turned out that they were only running the session for younger girls and there wasn’t an offer for us. It was really disappointing.

After I left school, I stopped playing. I went back for a bit when I was old enough to play in a women’s team but it didn’t last long because none of my friends were doing it. For me, it was always fun because I was doing it with my friends. Eventually I went back to the game as a coach, and that reignited my love for being involved in sport.

This is where my passion for giving quality experiences to girls in sport comes from. Girls shouldn’t have to wait until they’re 14 or 15 to play the sport they love. It should be easy for them to find a local club that they can go to with their friends. I know all of the boys I went to school with had a lot of football opportunities given to them. Girls love the social element of sport and thankfully there are far more opportunities available now then there were twenty-five years ago.

So that’s my story. A love of sport developed from an early age. A passion that I’ve managed to turn into a career. A business driven by purpose, determined to make sure that sport is much more accessible for girls than it was when I was growing up.

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