More than 18,000 female players will take part in FA Girls’ Football Week this week – over triple the original target.
It was hoped that around 5,000 people would get involved in football activities throughout a week that was created to encourage more schools, colleges and wider educational institutions to run female-specific football sessions.
The bumper figure was revealed as England World Cup stars Laura Bassett and Karen Carney visited Birmingham County FA to meet teenage girls who were taking part in a day of football activity to celebrate the week.
One hundred and forty girls from 13 local schools and colleges took part in technical sessions and a football festival.
Bassett said: “It’s been great coming here today and see so many girls enjoying playing football.
“It’s something as players that we’re really passionate about and we’re happy to support anything that gets more girls playing.
“The number of girls and women taking part this week is really impressive and hopefully we can play our part in inspiring more people to take up football.”
Kelly Simmons, FA director of football participation and development, said: “It is fantastic to see so many schools, clubs, universities and colleges putting on sessions across the country and giving girls the chance to play.
“One of our biggest priorities at The FA is increasing female participation and this week is a great example of how co-ordinating these efforts and working with our partners can have a huge impact on numbers.
“We hope that everyone enjoys the football they play this week and that it encourages more girls to play more regularly.”
The week is being delivered in partnership with Independent Schools FA, English Schools FA, Association of Colleges Sport and British Universities and Colleges Sport.
This year the programme has been extended to include primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities along with clubs and community groups who are also invited to participate.
In 2014, over 2,000 people took part in the sessions across 80 institutions.