More than 22,000 people have registered to take part in this month’s FA Girls’ Football Week, over 5000 more than the original target.
So far 22,304 girls aged 5-16 have signed up to play football, with the event three weeks away. The initial target was 17,340 participants.
This year, the event has been expanded to two weeks following the success of 2015’s FA Girls’ Football Week, to further drive female participation.
The first week will take place from Monday 25 April and is aimed at encouraging primary and secondary schools along with clubs, community groups and other organisations to run female football sessions. More than 200 schools have signed up to take part in the week.
The weeks are being delivered in partnership with the Independent Schools FA, English Schools FA, Association of Colleges Sport, British Universities and Colleges Sport, the Premier League and the Football League.
Donna McIvor, FA national participation manager, said: "It’s great news that we have exceeded our target already and the week looks set to be a fantastic showcase for girls’ and women’s football participation.
"This is testament to the work that we and our partners have put in to raising awareness of the weeks, its aims and to the staff working at schools, clubs and community groups across the country who will help make the week a big success.
"Though we’ve already hit the target, we’re still encouraging more groups and organisations to put on sessions and give as many girls as possible the opportunity to play football."
In 2015, more than 16,000 people took part in the event, more than triple the original target.
The second week, between 10-16 October, will aim at raising participation at higher and further education establishments.
Football is the largest female team sport in England with more than 2.89 million players. There are more than 5,900 women’s and girls’ teams playing affiliated club football.