Ultimate Destinations is delighted to be sponsoring Teddington Athletic U14 Girls team tour to Tampa, Florida which takes place this Easter. It promises to be a brilliant developmental football tour and will give the girls taking part an experience of a lifetime.
We have provided kit bags and rucksacks to all squad members which will help to make their travel experience to and from the US that little bit easier.
Teddington Athletic FC & the U14 Girls team
Teddington Athletic FC (TAFC) was established in 2006 to promote youth football, and it has worked. Rapidly mushrooming from four teams to 35, the club now has 400 registered players ranging from U6s through to U18s.
Perhaps the most exciting development has been in girls’ football. The first girls’ side – now playing at U15 – was quickly followed by what is now the U14s, and in summer 2015 TAFC’s Director of Football Dave Waldron established new sides at U12 and U10. They are already oversubscribed by 300%. The town of Teddington’s interest in girls’ football is phenomenal, and a big reason for this is the success of the U14s squad.
The new kids on the block
Teddington Athletic U14 Girls team was formed in June 2013 when 40 girls attended trials. A 15-girl squad was accepted into the Surrey County Women’s and Girls League Division 2 – with amazing success, winning every single league game and scoring over 100 goals in the process. In 2014/15, they established themselves in the top four of the Premier Division while reaching the Surrey Cup final and Capital Cup semi-final.
To promote this new girls’ team and keep the community informed, a Twitter account and blog were set up; both these social media outlets have proved to be a huge success. Among Teddington Athletic U14 Girls’ team’s 650 Twitter followers are members of the England Women’s football team (Jill Scott, Carly Telford), Olympic athletes (Jenny Jones), national women’s sport media outlets, and businesses local and global. The blog, with match reports provided by Teddington-based football magazine FourFourTwo’s Global Digital Editor (who happens to help coach the side), has had more than 35,000 visitors.
Providing an environment to develop
Youth football isn’t primarily about points and popularity. It should also provide an environment in which young people can develop, not just as players but as people, into well-balanced young adults.
In summer 2014, as the girls prepared not just for their first Premier League season but also to become teenagers, they were kindly given a Positive Thinking seminar courtesy of Gazing Performance Systems, whose previous sporting clients include the RFU, the New Zealand All Blacks and a leading Championship football club. This was followed by an illuminating seminar on healthy food from Amanda Ursell, a qualified nutritionist who writes for The Times and The Sun and appears regularly on both BBC and ITV.
From the relationships built up through social media, local Pilates instructor Narelle Mangham gave her time and expertise free of charge to take the girls for classes once a week after training, in addition to pre-match warm-ups.
Charity work for young women
An important commitment the squad have made is the promotion of the breast cancer charity CoppaFeel!. This came about when team manager Dave Waldron was watching the BBC Three documentary “Kris: Dying To Live”, about a 23-year-old whose malignant tumour was left undiagnosed because she was “too young to have cancer”. Although terminally ill, Kris Hallenga helped set up the CoppaFeel! charity and is a campaigner for everyone to be educated in early detection of all cancers.
Having 15 young women all developing at different paces, the manager contacted CoppaFeel! and the charity’s logo is now proudly displayed on both the home and away kits, as well linking in with the girls’ blog. It is the team’s stated intention that a percentage of money gained through any sponsorship or fundraising for Teddington Athletic U14 Girls’ team tour to Tampa 2016 will be given to CoppaFeel!.
Taking the girls to Tampa will be an experience of a lifetime. They will be hosted by Tampa Bay United, the area’s largest youth soccer club with 15 girls’ squads and dozens of boys’ teams. In addition to playing two matches and a tournament, the Teddington girls will visit at least one university, as the team includes several players with the ability and aspiration to go to the USA on football scholarships in the future.
Ultimate Destinations wishes the girls every success on their trip to Tampa. Keep us posted on how it goes!
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