West Ham football player sets up scheme to encourage girls to play the game

A West Ham player who is disappointed by the lack of football opportunities for girls has set up a scheme to help tackle the problem.

Kat Clifton, 25, of Harold Wood, wants to make the sport accessible and, fuelled by an Active Essex grant, has set up She Can Play – an organisation that pairs girls in the borough with teams and trains them.

“There are quite a few girls who want to play but they can’t get into a team,” she said. “It was really difficult when I was younger and it was really hard to find a girls team – I just had to play against the boys in the playground. In the end I had to travel to Barking to get into a team.”

Kat said girls deserve more support in football and you just have to look at the women’s World Cup results to see they are great at it.

The women’s side came third, putting the England’s men’s side to shame. You couldn’t do it for a living back then, but now the Super League players can do it as a job,” she added.

“The pay is nothing like in the men’s, but you get enough to get by.

“Give it five to 10 years and women will get there.”

She Can Play will act as a stepping stone, linking young players with clubs and developing their technique with additional coaching sessions.

The organisation will also run fun sessions aimed at mothers who want to get back into sport and for those who have never played before.

Kat, who works as a PE teacher, has been playing for West Ham since she was 11.

She added: “I just really enjoy playing. I love being in a team environment and want to give back to other girls.”

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SCP Coaching Team Through to the Finals of The FA’s Largest Ever Mass Participation Tournament.

From left to right, Nat Cole, Kelly Gallagher, Kat Clifton, Beth Lloyd and Clare Singh.
The FA People’s Cup Finalists 2016.
She Can Play’s journey began at the first round of The FA Peoples Cup through the BBC Get Inspired project. The team ended up becoming unbeaten in the local and regional rounds in Shoreditch, London and qualified to the national finals in Sheffield. She Can Play won their group in Sheffield and proceeded to the ‘Final’. With the match being aired live on BBC iPlayer. The girls went 2-0 down within the first 5 minutes however Kelly Gallagher and Kat Clifton levelled 2-2. In the last 30 seconds of the game the opposing team managed to score a last minute winner with the final score 3-2. The highlights of the game and an interview by Head Coach Kat Clifton are currently available to watch on the BBC iPlayer and on the BBC website.  
Beth Lloyd scoring to send us through to Sheffield.
The FA People’s Cup Final in Sheffield .