Get outdoors and get into football this summer…

Primary Times speaks with former England midfielder turned pundit Izzy Christiansen about the power of inclusion and female participation in football.

Premier League Primary Stars

Delivered in partnership with Nike, the Premier League Primary Stars Kit Scheme will see more than 58,000 girls in more than 4,000 primary schools across England and Wales receive the free football kit.

The Premier League and Nike have also joined forces to support more girls to enjoy football with confidence, as part of a new Premier League Primary Stars Active Allies resource featuring footballers Mason Mount and Chloe Kelly. The downloadable resource is designed to support teachers to encourage discussion, challenge gender stereotypes and inspire inclusion in the classroom, the playground and on the football pitch.

Following her own successful sporting career, we caught up with Izzy to get her thoughts on the Kit Scheme and more…

1) How do you think young girls feel about football and sport currently, and is this different from when you were at school?

I think young girls have more confidence when it comes to playing sport today, especially in football following the success of the Lionesses last year. Both schools I visited recently confirmed that they had seen a big increase in girls taking part in sport and joining the girls’ football team, so that’s a really positive sign. It’s honestly changed so much since I was at school. I would wear the boys’ football kit when I was playing. It’s so inspiring to now see young girls in their own football kit.

2) Can you tell us more about the Premier League Primary Stars Kit Scheme, and your special visit to your old school?

The Kit Scheme will see girls in primary schools across England and Wales receive their very own brand-new football kits. This is part of the Premier League’s ongoing support to get more young girls playing football.
I visited my old school, Rainow Primary School in Macclesfield, to hand-deliver some kits. The school holds a very special place for me as this is where I was scouted by Manchester United. It was the most heartwarming experience, seeing the girls' faces light up as they put on their new kits and gained instant confidence.

3) How important is it to unite boys and girls in standing against gender stereotypes together?

It’s vital to help remove those cultural and social barriers to participation, so that all young people, especially girls, have an opportunity to benefit from playing sport. Football has always been a more traditionally male-dominated game, so it’s great to support young girls’ participation in football.

4) Will the Active Allies resource have a positive impact, and in what way?

The Active Allies resource is a brilliant tool which enables teachers to discuss allyship with their class and encourage conversations with boys around helping empower girls to play football. I’ve seen the impact these resources can have and how they can support an inclusive school environment.

5) What do you most enjoy about being involved with Premier League Primary Stars?

Premier League Primary Stars is making a real difference in schools, so it’s really rewarding to be involved. I have seen first-hand how the Premier League is supporting young people with their education through the power of football. Getting to visit my old primary school to surprise the girls with new football kits has been an experience I’ll remember forever. I hope that the girls are inspired to take part in sport more regularly, consider football and future pathways within the game and most importantly, have fun!

To find out more, visit: https://plprimarystars.com

Photography © Theo Cohen

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