“I hadn’t kicked a ball in 20 years, and now I love it!”

You’re never too old to play football, especially while MFC Foundation’s local ‘Back 2 Football’ classes are in full swing!

Our popular Sunday coaching sessions at the Middlesbrough Sports Village have been running successfully for over three years now, with more and more women dusting off their football boots and flocking back to the sport. The programme has been such a success that we have now extended it across a second night!

Aimed at women over the age of 16 and of all abilities, the session gives people the opportunity to either rediscover an old past-time they enjoyed when they were younger, or even to simply improve their fitness.

To celebrate Girls Football Week, we caught up with the group during their intensive session on Sunday to find out more about the participants, and what made them return to football.

Sara has been coming to the session since it started, and travels to Middlesbrough every Sunday from Hartlepool.

“I just wanted to get fit really, and I enjoy football so I thought this was the ideal place to come.

“I used to play for a team in Hartlepool, but that was when I was 13 or 14, and I’m 39 now.

“I didn’t know anyone else when I signed up, but I’ve made a lot of new friends, and you can see that week on week our ability is hugely improving!”

Emma is also 39, and lives locally in Hemlington. “I used to play football at school, but I haven’t played in years.

“I saw this group on Facebook and I thought I’d give it a try, even though I hadn’t really kicked a ball in over 20 years!

“I’ve always loved football, but there wasn’t much of an opportunity for girls to play back then, and even more recently I’d looked around for appropriate five-a-side teams, but to no avail really.

“I love it here, they’re a great group of people with all different abilities.

“Just come along and try it, I didn’t know anyone either but now I hardly miss a week!”

Rachel Horsley, MFC Foundation’s Girls Football Lead added: “The programme has been running strongly for over 12 months now, and the sessions have created a real friendship group between the ladies. There isn’t just one aim of Back to Football; whether it’s to socialise with new people, lose weight or get active, or to fine-tune your football skills, the reasons are endless.

“Football is a sport for all, irrespective of age or gender, and I’m delighted to see that the sessions have proven such a major success.”