Arsenal defender Leah Williamson paid a visit to The Arsenal Hub to see the Girls Football League in action.

The Girls Football League is a part of the Girls Football programme that is jointly hosted by Arsenal in the Community and Arsenal Women.

The programme, which is funded by the Premier League Charitable Fund and the FA, aims to put on after school sessions for girls aged 11 and over. Every week, a 140 girls across 24 teams from 14 schools take part.

Having seen first-hand what the programme is doing, Williamson told“As a fan of the club I am so proud of the work that Arsenal do for the community. It’s also great to see girls being encouraged to play football from an early age.”

Leah Williamson
VILA REAL SANTO ANTONIO, PORTUGAL – FEBRUARY 04: Isabel Kerschowski (L) of Wolfsburg challenges Leah Williamson (R) of Arsenal during the Women’s Friendly Match between VfL Wolfsburg Women’s and Arsenal FC Women on February 4, 2017 in Vila Real Santo Antonio, Portugal. (Photo by Filipe Farinha/Getty Images For VfL Wolfsburg)

The defender spoke to the girls and recalled a story when, during his first-ever match as a six-year-old, she ran to the wrong end of the pitch before kick-off. Despite that, she scored a hat-trick.

With the women’s game growing rapidly, now is the time to get young girls involved in the sport. Arsenal host sessions in Islington, Camden, Hackney, and Hertsmere every Thursday after school hours.

The season runs throughout the academic years and features teams for 11-13 to year olds and 14-16 year olds. As an added bonus, the sessions take place near the Emirates Stadium.

This was noted by one of the coaches as something the girls look forward to whenever they come to visit. Arsenal are one of the biggest clubs in women’s football and should be doing their utmost help develop the game.

Programmes like this are a good step toward getting girls interested and encouraging active participation. This is on top of the good work Arsenal are already doing at elite level, where their under-10s girls now compete against boys teams.

They’ve also recently formed a partnership with Hitchin Belles, with aims to provide more coaching sessions for the club.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,