With the growth and success of women’s football, one local club is calling out for more women to join and get in the game.
Not for Women
In 1920, 53,000 supporters turned up to a Boxing Day women’s football match at Goodison Park, Everton. Just one year later, the FA voted to ban women’s football, stating that it was a game “quite unsuitable for females”. It took another 92 years to see that attendance figure broken.
This year’s Women’s Euro Cup has smashed records in terms of attendance and viewers. The quality and talent displayed during the tournament has been immense, and right now, women’s football at international level feels like an unstoppable force.
But the fact remains that across most of Europe, women’s teams are still positioned far behind the men’s game in terms of salaries, investment, sponsorship, and education. But there are winds of change.
Here in Spain, La Liga and the Association of Women’s Football Clubs were created in September 2015. Today, despite an absence of women’s representation at RCD Mallorca, there are many strong women’s teams on the island, with growth in mixed and girls-only junior teams, too.
There are currently several women’s leagues´ and the numbers are growing. Last year also saw the creation of the first youth girls’ league (Futbol Feminino Formación), which is helping to transition younger teenagers, before the jump at 14 to the women’s league.
Nurturing Passion for the Game
One such club that is nurturing its female players is RMA Mallorca, based in Son Ferrer. The local organisation, stemming from the well-established Russell Martin Academy in the UK, is based in the southwest of the island. RMA provides a wide range of football coaching and camps from development centres for beginners and kids from aged four upwards to federated male and female teams that play in local leagues. Despite only having started up in 2018, the club is now comprised of more than 120 kids, 6 federated teams, with a broad nationality base from more than 20 countries.
Founder Rob Croll explains why the club has been growing so successfully: “At RMA Mallorca we adapt our coaching sessions to fortify the abilities of every player according to their individual needs, often employing the same techniques garnered from our specialist training sessions of professional premiership footballers. But what is crucial is the value we place on sportsmanship and respect. In this club, our values are expected to be maintained at all levels, including our parents and fans.”
Sporting Son Ferrer Falcons (SSFF)
The club is now making a concerted effort to address the balance and get more girls and women playing and they have had great success with their first female team, the Sporting Son Ferrer Falcons: a group of girls who began training at RMA in 2019 and fell in love with the beautiful game. Such was the passion of these young women that during lockdown they continued with online fitness sessions with their coach and were one of the first teams to start back when restrictions permitted.
Rob explains: “Our Sporting Son Ferrer Falcons girls’ team are a shining example of how a values-led approach to training can develop a team, not only on the pitch but off. Following huge success last year, winning their League, they’ve come up through the ranks and will now play in Women’s for the first time. It might be a challenging transition, but we hope to have instilled the right ingredients so that they face the task and come out with their heads held high.”
The team are now putting out a call out for more girls and women to join their team this season. With a strong sense of alliance, enthusiasm, and empathy, they are hoping to encourage more women to give it a go.
The Importance of Sport for Girls
Rob continues, “Not all the players who join want to play competitive football, some simply want to enjoy the sport and the experience of being part of a club. Apart from improving their game, they also learn about respect, responsibility, and teamwork. This helps them off the pitch in all aspects of life.”
And it can be a good investment for the future too. Studies show that girls who play sports are more likely to graduate from college, land competitive jobs, and work in male-dominated industries. A US survey by Ernst & Young found that 94% of women executives participated in sports and more than half played at a higher level. Nearly three-quarters of these women said their time on the pitch helped develop their leadership “muscle.”
Rob summarises: “It’s time to create an equal playing field at every level. We encourage anyone, but particularly girls and women, to come and experience what it’s like to play football. Maybe they’ve played before, or perhaps they’ve been playing another sport, but they should come and see the type of club we are. During September our training sessions will be open to anyone who wants to give it a go.”
More information about children’s sessions and league teams at RMA Mallorca can be found by visiting rmamallorca.com. Girls and women who would like to come for a try-out in September specifically, please contact Rob Croll via Instagram @sportingsonferrer.
Why play? – Health Benefits
- Endurance – A player can expect to run around 10km each match, which will improve cardiac and respiratory capacity.
- Flexibility – Running and agility are important skills formed in ball control, stretching, and working muscles hard.
- Resistance – Accelerating and sprinting help improve resistance.
- Total body workout – Strengthens all muscles in the body – even your hands when you make a throw-in.
Why play? – Emotional Benefits
- Self-Esteem – Forming friendships and bonding over experiences raises self-esteem and confidence.
- Respect – Being part of a team is about respecting individual skills and personalities and putting differences aside.
- Communication – It’s a skill necessary for playing as a unified team and a useful life skill learned on the pitch.
- Solidarity – Supporting each other through good and bad are important aspects of the team experience.
How to Join
Are you a girl or women aged 9-13 or 14 + (including adults) with a desire to be part of a team?
Contact Rob Croll on 691173265 and state your interest to give it a go.
Come along to one of the training sessions in September (Mon & Wed 18:00) at Son Ferrer.
You can just start by training or begin competing in one of the leagues.
Bring a positive attitude, some water, and some trainers (ideally astro-boots).
SSFF look forward to meeting you!