Leasowe United Tournament inspires Merseyside schoolgirls in football and beyond

It’s just over a year since the Lionesses lifted the Women’s European Cup, having more recently reached the finals of the Women’s World Cup and women and girls football continues to grow in popularity.

This weekend more than 300 schoolgirls, aged 12 to 16 from across Merseyside, will come together to take part in the Leasowe United Tournament, which due to the success of last year’s event is now in its second year.

The tournament, which will see 59 matches being played across the day, is a fantastic initiative that aims to inspire young girls into further education, apprenticeships and employment. It is designed to build their confidence and realise their potential both on and off the pitch.

Partners involved include Everton in the Community who will be refereeing games and delivering coaching sessions and challenges, St John’s Ambulance who will deliver first aid workshops, and Merseyside Youth Association, offering life-changing opportunities and mental health support for young people.

The Leasowe United project has evolved from work by Constables Claire Ryan and Alison Inman from the Wallasey Community Team, with the aim of creating safer communities and greater opportunities for those who live and work in them.

Police Constable Claire Ryan, Wallasey Community Team, said, “Merseyside Police is committed to working with our partners and communities and Leasowe United is a great example of what can be achieved when working together.

“Initiatives like this open doors for young people, providing them with opportunities to reach their full potential and change their lives for the better. I hope this inspires them to embrace new challenges and to take the steps to further education or into the world of work.”

Jimmy Belmar, lead for Operation Stonehaven at Merseyside Police, said, “Operation Stonehaven, part of the Project Medusa county lines initiative, is our preventative and diversionary pathway for young people. Therefore, we are delighted to support this event which will see more than 300 girls play football and share their passion for the game.

“The Lionesses’ recent victories have bolstered women’s football, and we know how important sport is in building resilience, self-confidence, and discipline. Good luck to everyone involved!”

Dale Davies, Football Development Lead for Everton in the Community, said, “We are looking forward to the return of the Leasowe United tournament and helping to inspire and raise aspirations for young females across Merseyside.”

Jessica Gouldson, Merseyside Youth Association said, “We are really excited to be involved with such a fantastic event, as it shows the great work that can happen when organisations work in collaboration towards a common goal to benefit young people.

“As Merseyside Youth Association’s THinK team we recognise the positive impact that physical activities can have on the mental wellbeing of young people. It is empowering to see such a big event targeting the younger females within sport, as we know how crucial early initiatives are for longer lasting, positive effects on health outcomes and helping them sustain participation within sport for years to come.”

Leasowe United will be held at Leasowe Recreation Centre, Twickenham Drive, Wirral CH46 1PF, on Saturday 2 September between 2pm – 6:30pm.

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