Sunderland Ladies players were present to support the teams.

Sunderland Ladies players were present to support the teams.

The Foundation of Light hosted a 7-a-side girls’ tournament as part of the Girls’ Football Week initiative, and Sunderland AFC Ladies’ stars Rachael Laws and Hayley Sharp spoke exclusively to Sportsbyte about how the tournament is a fantastic event for young girls.

The FA Girls’ Football Week aims to increase participation in the women’s game and Friday’s tournament saw six college teams face-off against each other, giving the girls the chance to win trophies and meet their role models.

Both Laws and Sharp were in attendance to watch over proceedings and share their thoughts about the positives of the scheme.

When asked how important the initiative was, Laws said: “For us to come and be a part of it and see the girls is very important. It’s nice to see them getting involved.”

Sharp echoed her thoughts and added: “For us, when we were younger, there was nothing like this going on and it’s nice to be a part of it.”

There were 10,000 more girls participating in the initiative compared to last year, which is further proof that the women’s game is growing at a fast rate.

Laws agreed that it was great to see more young girls taking part each year, and credited Friday’s event itself for being a protagonist of the increase.

“It’s credit to the girls and the staff putting on these events. The girls are coming along, making friends, and I think if you enjoy it you’ll want to be involved in the sport.

“This is our job now and we go in everyday and we enjoy it.”

Despite the growth of the women’s game, it is not yet at the same level as the men’s, and although it may never be, Sharp is confident that events such as these will help the female game continue to grow.

“The amount of leagues we have now, it’s growing every year and I think there’s more support for these girls coming through now [which means] that it’s probably going to take off.”

FA Girls’ Football week finishes today and the organisers can take pride in knowing that they have pulled off yet another successful week.