Girls Centre of Excellence Under 9 side compete against other centres in friendly matches for first time

This half-term saw our Girls Centre of Excellence U9’s Development Squad take part in a Football Festival at our first team training ground.

Our U9’s train once a week at the girls Centre of Excellence and is now in its third season since the restructuring of the girls centres.

This is the first season that the FA have allowed the U9’s to take part in friendlies against other centres so we invited Brighton and Essex FA along to join us for a mini tournament.

On hand to referee the games were volunteers from Mid-Kent who were, as always, superb and we thank them again for their time and support with our activities.

The aim of the day was to allow the girls to play in some fun small-sided games while also allowing the coaches to see how they are progressing.

U9’s Coach, Dan Small said: “This was the first time that our Centre of Excellence U9’s were able to play against other centre of excellences and it was hugely beneficial to the development of the girls.

“For some of them this was their first time playing against other girls’ teams and what was really pleasing from my point of view was how they applied what we have been doing in training to the match situation.

“But more importantly they all had a huge amount of fun and the smiles on the girls’ faces at the end of the festival made all the hard work put in by the people behind the scenes worthwhile.

"I really hope we are allowed to do more of these over the coming seasons and be able to give our future U9’s the chance to play for Gillingham Football Club.”

Centre Manager, Henry Willard added: "This was such a significant step along the FA Girls’ talent pathway for all of the girls involved and that’s important to highlight.

“It was their first ever fixture against another centre, and potentially the start of a successful decade of centre of excellence football for a lot of these girls.

“Every single one of our girls represented Gillingham Football Club impeccably.

"It almost left a lump in your throat at the end, there was so much pride seeing our youngsters in full Gills kit for the very first time, I just look forward to hopefully seeing many of them continue to develop as footballers over the coming years as they rise up through the centre of excellence here."

Thank you to all those involved in making the day such a success.

To find out more about our U9’s Development Squad please click here.