Girls Football festival takes place in Aveley.

By Ethan Crafter

2nd Jun 2024 | Football

Girls football tournament at Parkside. Credit: @taureverard on Instagram.
Girls football tournament at Parkside. Credit: @taureverard on Instagram.

Hassenbrook Football Festival for girls took place yesterday (1 June) at Parkside, the home of Aveley FC. The event was aimed for girls teams to play opponents of a similar level.

Organisers Alex and Kayleigh Barber started advocating for more female inclusion in the sport after their daughter was bullied. Alex said: "Two years ago our own daughter was the victim of bullying around football while trying out for her school team with boys."

Following this, Alex and Kayleigh spoke with campaigners Her Game Too and footballer Gabriella Howell who inspired their daughter to get back into the sport.

The couple went on to author children's book Ella Plays Football - Her Game Too and after visiting 15 schools in Essex & Kent it became clear to the pair that a female only football tournament was needed.

Alex described the festival as a "fantastic experience for all involved". Around 50 players and 100 parents attended, along with special guests that included Women's Football Referee Amari Taylor.

Amari said: "This event was really well put together, it's great to see girls this young getting to experience a professionally and fun tournament promoting girls football."

Women's Football Referee Amari Taylor

Alex went on to say: "All the girls across the five teams were exceptional, polite and in high spirits through the day. Some people commented at the end that you couldn't even tell who lost due to how happy everyone was."

Organisers are keen to have more events take place in the future. Alex said, "We would love this event to grow and be put together again next year. Aveley were amazing hosts and playing on a pitch like that was great for the girls."

"Like all tournaments it's just about facilities, sponsors and structure but personally I would love to grow this to a female only contest in Essex each year, bringing more age groups in and people who can supply amazing prizes to the players".

Alex ended by saying: "The message is a strong one and girls are now making waves in football. At some point they should have tournaments geared just towards them."

Credit: @taureverard on Instagram.

The couple have two new books coming soon. Jack Goes Dancing (2024) and Ella Plays Football - Everyone's Game (2025).


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