Arsenal Ladies star midfielder Rachel Yankey and ex-Arsenal striker Lianne Sanderson joined local female footballers in London yesterday where they hosted an exclusive, free coaching session for local U16 girls at Whittington Park to mark the launch of The FA Tesco Girls’ Football Week.

The event at Whittington Park celebrated the inaugural FA Tesco Girls’ Football Week which runs this week between 22nd to 28th June with similar events taking place across the country. The aim of the seven day promotion is to give girls more information on football in their area as well as allow them the chance to sample the game for the first time in a fun and safe environment.

Local girls under the age of 5 to 16 were invited to come along to Whittington Park where they took part in a uniquely designed free football taster session. Specially trained FA coaches were on hand to give the girls the very best coaching tips, whilst they were able to test their skills in a number of inflatable football games such as target practice and speed camera shooting which were set up on the day. Representatives from the London County FA were also on hand to provide girls with more details on local teams and how to get involved in their local area.

Arsenal and England international Rachel Yankey said: “It’s always good to see young girls participating in the game as after all they are the next generation of the England Women’s team. Girls’ Football Week provides girls who may not have thought about playing football before with a fantastic opportunity to have a fun introduction to the sport and provide them with the means of hopefully continuing their development in the game for years to come.”

Morag Taylor, Marketing Manager for Women’s Football at The Football Association, added: “Girls football is the number one female participation sport in England but we’re keen for even more girls to get involved and enjoy the game over the coming seasons. The FA Tesco Girls’ Football Week is all about introducing young girls of all abilities to the game, helping them to improve their skills and have fun with their friends.”

There are currently 150,000 females playing affiliated football in England and more than double that number who want to get involved but are unsure of how to go about it. As a result, part of the week’s activities will see The FA and Tesco, with the assistance of London County FA, helping girls find their local clubs so that they can join up and continue to enjoy the game.

More details about the events that are taking place in your local area during The FA Tesco Girls’ Football Week can be found at www.TheFA.com/girlsfootball.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 24 Jun 2009