Former Sunderland Ladies star Steph Houghton is determined to find the next generation of English talent as women’s football continues to grow.
After the success of Mark Sampson’s Lionesses during the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada, when Houghton’s side finished third, the former Lady Black Cat hopes the next generation have been inspired.
She said: “I think the way women’s football has grown over the last few years is huge.
“For us, it’s everything when you go into schools and coaching classes and see how they’re maybe a bit starstruck and really excited by the fact you’re there.
It’s very encouraging that we can be like that.
“All we can do is be as positive as we can be around making them feel comfortable about wanting to play football and enjoy the sport.”
The FA recently launched a new girls-only football participation programme that will see a new batch of youngsters aged from five to 14 playing girls’ football.
Houghton, who has become a household name in the English women’s game, alongside the likes of Fara Williams and Lucy Bronze, remembers when she took part in her first training sessions.
“It was when I was at Sunderland soccer schools and having the opportunity to go on and play, and being told how to do certain turns and passes.
“I always remember the first turn I learned was the Cruyff Turn, which for me it’s something you always remember.”
Energy firm SSE is working in partnership with the FA to launch the new girls-only football programme.
To find out your local club and start playing, visit www.SSE.co.uk/girlsunited