Garston Ladies FC have seen participation double in 12 months which is positive for grassroots football
Garston Ladies FC have seen participation double in 12 months which they believe is positive for grassroots football.
Last Updated: 26/03/14 12:24pm
More than 2,500 people responded to Sky Sports News' survey enquiring about the difficulties in participating in the sport at a local level.
The result concluded that more than 65% of respondents said they did not think local councils did enough to support facilities and the costs of low-level football and 83.7% said the FA do not do enough to preserve the grassroots game.
And even with girls as young as five joining the Hertfordshire club, Smith admits sponsorship and grants are key to their survival.
"We have about 260 girls at the club and half of them are still primary school age, which is fantastic," Smith said.
"We constantly battle to afford it, our player subscriptions just about cover costs but not wholly keep us solvent, and we have to look for sponsorship and grants all the time just to stand still."
The club see participation numbers drop in the early teenage years but they are enticing girls to stay in the sport by giving them the opportunity to do their level one coaching qualification.
And Vice Chairman Dave Annal believes more girls will choose to stay committed to the club in their later years by getting more to participate at grassroot level.
"What we are trying to do is build up from the bottom - what we call the pyramid system - so that we get as many players as we can at the lower levels and then by the time they are getting to 15/16 we might have had two or three teams and then it goes down to one team rather than half a team, which is the aim," Annal said.