Author Emmie Penkett caught up with the players and coaches ahead of this weekend’s matches
Bradford City AFC Women will be celebrating Women’s football weekend in style on the 14th of November. The first team will be travelling to Cheadle for the FA Women’s cup where they will face Cheadle town stingers. Meanwhile, the Under-23’s will be at home for the reserve plate against Barnsley Women’s Reserves.
This women’s football weekend, the team want to celebrate all forms of women’s football, from the clubs’ junior teams to the first team. Bradford City AFC Women are proud to have an established junior set up for girls’ football with ages ranging from under-10’s, to Under-18’s. As the players advance, the club will often take players through to the first team and the under-23’s. Recently, players Crystal Knapton and Jess Hayes debuted for the first team. Knapton played 70 minutes in last weekend’s cup game against Boldmere St Michaels which they lost on penalties.
Many of the current Under 23’s have come from the junior set up, and last weekend they were celebrating wins all around. The Under-10’s had a great day beating Leeds United, the Under-15’s beat Garforth Rangers and the Under-18’s took victory against Castleford Whites.
Last Tuesday, both the first team and Under-23’s were working hard in preparation for their matches, but they still had time to share their excitement for women’s football weekend.
Anaayah Charles started in the junior set up when she was just 9 years old and was also the captain during that time. She said:
“it was a massive responsibility, but it was so rewarding as well”
“It’s been a difficult season so far for me as I’ve picked up a couple of injuries, but just getting to know a new group of girls has been great.”
Anaayah also had some great advice for any girls wanting to get involved in football:
“When I played in primary school there was one girl who was always better than me, but no matter what anyone says you’ve got to keep going.”
Striker Valeria Martin has already had a great season with the club, scoring goals in her last games against Middlesbrough, Queensbury, and Huddersfield. She joined the junior set-up in the under 15’s after a teacher at her school noticed her skills. She explained;
“he gave me a leaflet for trials at Bradford, so I thought I’ll give a go, and since then I’ve been here.”
Valeria also has great memories from playing at junior level:
“winning the league the same year I started. It was our first year together as a team and we won it fairly easily.”
Chairman Qasim Akhtar is looking forward to this weekend’s matches and is eager to prove the talents of the junior set up. He said,
“I’m feeling confident for both matches, we speak a lot about trusting the process and there is a leap from girls football to women’s football, but is a good step up for the players.”
“The under 23’s are a young group and I trust the coaches with leading them.”
Whilst you may not be able to get down to see the first team at Cheadle, you can still head down to Woodhouse Grove school to watch the Under-23’s battle it out on Sunday.