The FA and Continental Tyres will be running an exciting new initiative - Continental Shot Stoppers - at Meadow Park, Boreham Wood on Thursday 18 August between 2pm and 6pm.

The programme will take place ahead of the crucial WSL match between Arsenal Ladies and Everton, which is live on ESPN. The Shot Stoppers programme is free to attending children, as part of the pre-match build up with the match kicking off at 7pm.

Arsenal Goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny and Emma Byrne from the men’s and ladies’ sides met this morning at the Emirates Stadium to show their support for the programme.

Developed by Keith Rees, Senior England Women’s Goalkeeping Coach at The FA, the programme looks to drive participation of girls into the game, in particular to develop goalkeepers and goalkeeping skills of girls under 16 by testing their skills in a series of specialist goalkeeper skills tests and training drills in a fun, enjoyable environment.

Szczesny was happy to lend his support for the programme:

“Because of the success of the Ladies team over the past few years, there is a strong following from the Arsenal men’s players.

“Goalkeeping especially is of a very high standard and Emma Byrne has performed exceptionally this season. In their 12 matches so far they have conceded just eight goals and Emma has kept eight clean sheets, which speaks volumes for her performance.

“We all wish them the best and hope Arsenal Ladies can become the champions of the first ever Women’s Super League. If programmes like Continental Shot Stoppers can motivate more girls to become goalkeepers, then that can only be good for the sport.”

Emma Byrne added:

 “This type of programme was certainly not around when I was in my early teens. It’s great fun but importantly it is extremely professional and provides a real taster for young girls about all aspects of goalkeeping, from athleticism through to strength and skill. The programme is linked to senior clubs and centres of excellence and I am looking forward to seeing some of these girls coming through to the senior level over the next few years.”

Two local girls will be selected to participate in Continental Shot Stoppers at The FA WSL Continental Cup Final on Sunday 25 September. They will demonstrate their skills at half time at the final and also be offered the opportunity to be a mascot on the day and perform other important duties at the live match, which is being shown on ESPN.

Fans can also see Arsenal Ladies play against Liverpool Ladies at Skelmersdale Stadium as one of a series of matches to close the season on Sunday 28 August, that could see the Gunners take home the first WSL trophy.  With ticket prices ranging from £2.50 for children to £4-6 for adults, this promises not only an exciting day of competitive football but a fun family day out with activities and entertainment taking place at each of the host stadiums, including a dad’s and daughter’s penalty shoot-out and the chance to meet the players after the game.

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17 Aug 2011