Girls Are On The Ball In Denton
Thursday 9th July 2015 @ 11:44 by Mark Phillip
Denton & Audenshaw Football Sports

According to James Caldwell, football is more than just a sport, it’s a way of breaking down barriers.

Denton Girls fc open day

In the space of two years, James – development officer at Denton Girls FC – has made it his mission to broaden girl’s football.

“We’re working with the Manchester FA to push football across Greater Manchester” James said.

“We decided to hold an open day, where we basically invited girls from across Greater Manchester to come down and try out football for day.”

Questioned about the reasons for doing so, the 29-year-old added: “We often have a philosophy within the club that football is for girls of all ages and abilities, so we try and make it available to everyone.”

Originally formed in 1997, the team were born as Denton eagles.

Fast forward 18 years, and the club are flying higher than ever. Talking passionately about why he became involved with the club, James said: “I became connected with the club around three years ago because of my daughter.

“She had played football previously, but had dropped out of the sport because she didn’t enjoy playing alongside boys.

“Denton gave her a chance to play in a girl only environment.”

At one point, James was just a spectator at the club.

However, in a short space of time, and much to his surprise, he quickly became a prominent figure. He added: “Shortly after my daughter joined, I was invited to get involved with the coaching, and from there it’s almost become my full-time job.”

Despite shouldering such responsibility, James revels in the pressure. “There’s an enormous sense of satisfaction in terms of helping kids with their sport” he said.

“It’s also great to see some of them take up refereeing courses, or completing coaching badges.

“I find it rewarding that opportunities are available for girls who want to take the next step in football.”

Although everyone connected with the club longs for success, they’ll never detract from their life-long mantra. Expanding on this issue, James said: “We never turn a child away, regardless of their skill or ability.

“It’s not about glory or pot hunting; rather, it’s about girls of all ages and abilities having the chance to get involved with the club.”

While relying on the makeup of volunteers, the club seek help from outside sources. Describing the logistics of such matters, James said: “We try and take some time out of the club to look at football as a more general idea.

“Football can be an expensive game, even at grassroots level.

“The parents contribute massively, but in order for us to go above and beyond what we normally do, we have to rely on grants from charities.”

Earlier this year, the girls enjoyed a trip to Championship outfit, Sheffield Wednesday.

The trip across the Pennines was only made possible thanks to the Ninelives charity. Shedding light on the experience, James added: “The trip to Sheffield Wednesday was a good chance for the girls to see the inner workings of a football club.

“Not only did the girls have the opportunity to see what it’s like to be a professional footballer, but they were able to train on the clubs facilities.”

From Sheffield to Germany, the fun never seems to end at the club. James said: “With the support of Denton Town Twinning Association, we were able to take a large group of players across to kierspe in Germany.

“As part of the four day trip, we had a football tournament which we won, and we also got to understand a lot more about German culture and the twin town.

“We had a tour of shalke’s stadium, and lots of players and coaches came back with replica shirts.

“It was great to be part of the atmosphere and environment that German teams play in, because it’s very much different to English football.”

Given the girls had a great time in Germany, I guess it begs the question: Will there be a repeat visit?

Without fear or favour, James concluded: “We’re currently planning our next trip to Germany and hope that it will become a long-lasting relationship.

“Hopefully, we’ll take some of the younger age groups, including the Under 11’s and Under 12’s.”

In the meantime, the girls will be looking to fine tune their skill sin pre-season training. If the past 12 months are anything to go by, then the club looks destined for more success.