My first memories of football were in primary school. Those hot summer days where you’d debate about who was the better team – Man United or Arsenal. The days where your class would split up into teams and have friendlies in the field. The good old care free days. Although predominantly made up of boys, any girls that wanted to play were always welcome. There was no boys vs girls, or “who had the better players”, there was just a team.

Just before Christmas I interviewed a few of the players of Wonderkid Ladies FC – a team that heavily incorporates this kind of attitude of fairness and teamwork in their performance, who have come together to promote a positive attitude towards female football. As captain and co-founder Maria Sihaloho puts it, they wanted a “place where football is accessible to everyone”. With players coming in at different levels – some completely new to football and others having played for Arsenal under 11’s, encouraging one another and determination saw the Wonderkid Ladies get to the semi-finals of the Trapstar Goals tournament last year. Speaking highly of their Coach Rhys Chapman reminded all the boys in my primary school who taught me those little tips and tricks of football. How understanding they were in looking at the dynamics of the team and tailoring training with encouragement as well as “allowing for growth, a bit of competitiveness” and above all enjoying the beautiful game.


Left to right: Coral Higson, Hayley McCarthy, Kaila Stone, Shirley Webb
Maria Sihaloho, Fi Gent

Catch the girls play at the Fans for Diversity Tournament on 28th February

Words: Mary-Jane Gotidoc | Photography: James Clothier