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FURD's 'veteran' footballers go from strength to strength

FURD's football work has a particular focus on improving opportunities for under-represented groups, including women over 35. There has been a lack of opportunities for women to play football just for fun, friendship and fitness. Many women of this generation had few if any opportunities to play football in their youth.

Our female football sessions are attended by girls and women aged from 8 right up to 65.

In 2015, We, along with another Sheffield group, Nunny's Funky Boots, entered teams in the women's over-35 category in the first FA People's Cup - a national 5-a-side tournament. However, only 4 teams entered and it was cancelled.

To prove a point, FURD and Nunny's organised our own 6-a-side 'veterans' tournament instead. We had 4 teams just from Sheffield, aged from 35 to 61, with some players bringing their grandchildren to watch.

In 2016, FURD again entered the People's Cup. This time there were 6 teams and the competition went ahead with all 6 entering at the final stages. We were thrilled to make it through to the final, where we lost to the Hackney Jurassics.

Since then, five of our players in their 40s and 50s have progressed to joining an 11-a-side team, the AFC Unity Jets, playing in an open-age league, most of them for the first time in their lives.

Our veterans also teamed up with younger players to play for FURD in a 5-a-side league.

54-year-old Michelle Garrigan said, "FURD helped me get back into playing football, and the People's Cup gave us a foothold into playing competitively as a team. I am now playing 11-a-side league football for the first time in my life, as there weren't the opportunities when I was younger".

Corinne Heritage said, "I was nervous at first about playing football over 50 as I'd hardly kicked a ball before, but I was proved wrong! I never imagined I'd go on to play in the People's Cup final and in an open age 11-a-side team. The growth in organised women's football, both competitive and recreational, has helped me so much, and I am proof that women of any age could and should play football."

We are now looking forward to the 2017 Peoples Cup, although as opportunities for older women slowly increase, we're expecting more opposition this time!

We are also taking an under-14 girls' team to the People's Cup for the first time this year.

New players of any age and any level of experience, including beginners, are always welcome.

We play every Tuesday from 6-7pm at the U-Mix Centre, Sheffield. For girls aged 8-15 we have a regular slot at U-Mix from 11am-12 on Saturdays. All sessions are currently FREE! Just turn up, or contact us for more information.

For photos please follow the links below to our Facebook and Twitter posts.

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