This week I caught up with our fabulous football coach, Chris Walker and asked him to give us an insight into the incredibly successful evolution of Girls’ Football at BISB.
Language Teacher & Co-Curricular Coordinator
It all began over eleven years ago in August 2008 with two teams - an U11 and an U14 team. Back then we were very inexperienced and this CCA simply didn’t attract much interest. Girls playing football wasn’t seen as something that ‘girls did’, so we had to use members of the netball squad. Our football teams over the two age groups attracted 15 girls in total. The girls tried their absolute hardest, but found competing against more experienced footballing teams a very difficult task. We had one competition per year - the Nord Anglia Tournament – but at the time we were really only making up the numbers and essentially competing to not finish bottom.
We finally won our first competition in 2014. It was the U14 DVAC Tournament and it just so happened that it was our first year of being part of the competition. By this time we had a group focused fully on football as their main sport. The U11 CCA was full! Meanwhile, the U14 squad was also in a healthy place and we now had 35 active girl footballers in total. That academic year we also had a successful tournament in Bratislava finishing 3rd. Owing to the increasing popularity of the CCA among the girls at BISB we took the decision at the end of that year to add another age group - the U19s.
It was such a buzz for the Girls’ Football community that they could continue playing football into their older years. They approached every game and competition with passion, pride and commitment. For a short time, we played against Vasas Academy – part of the local professional football set-up in Budapest. Vasas always came with a very determined will to win, but for the most part, their teams would struggle against our group who had grown in experience together. From then on, the girls’ confidence rocketed - they all felt that they could beat anybody and following on from the Vasas games, they went unbeaten for the best part of a whole academic year.
A set of friendlies with fellow international schools was introduced around this time which enabled the girls to get as much match practice as possible. Additionally, the DVAC festivals and tournaments continued and Nord Anglia also began a new competition in football for the U19 age group. Since 2015 the U19 have won four DVAC tournaments back to back and two ENASAs. This ongoing success has seen our numbers across the three age groups swell to 52 members. We have also taken on extra coaches so that the girls can gain the best experiences they can from a wealth of coaching knowledge.
Our journey continues as the older players move on and we get an influx of young players. We always look forward to welcoming girls into the fold so that they can create their own memories. Our aim is to make football not only fun, but also an educational experience where the girls learn about the sport and to learn how to cope with success and failure in a controlled environment. In addition, they create long lasting friendships along the way.
Physical Education Teacher