With England safely through the group stage of Euro 2016, Dylan and Xander are taking more of an interest. At only seven months of age, Amelie hasn’t got a clue what we’re so excited about, but I very much hope that she’ll grow to love football as much as we do.
A recent survey by leading energy provider SSE found that Britain’s dads are much more likely to spend time with their daughters indoors than they are to enjoy a kickabout together.
It also discovered that dads are less likely to watch football with their daughters. Furthermore, almost a third of those surveyed believed that there was still a stigma attached to girls pursuing certain sports.
I think this is a great shame, especially given how far the women’s game has come in recent years. England finished in third place in last year’s World Cup.
They’ve also qualified for next year’s European Championships, hitting 14 goals without reply in their last two qualifying matches alone.
England Lionesses’ all-time top scorer, Kelly Smith has joined the campaign urging dads to nurture their daughters’ interest in football. As you’ll see in the video below – the first of three in SSE’s Dads and Daughters campaign – Kelly owes much to her father, Bernard, for encouraging her to pursue the career that her talent clearly warranted.
One thing I would say is that it should be down to parents of both genders to follow the fine example set by Bernard. It would have been interesting to see the statistics had the views of mums been taken into consideration too.
That point aside, more needs to be done across the board to encourage girls to take part in football. We’ve already seen that the survey results indicate a stigma which has no right to exist in the 21st century.
Help is at hand though. SSE is working alongside the Football Association and clubs around the country to give youngsters more opportunities to play football and encourage girls in particular to participate.
I’d like to think that I’m already doing my bit. Amelie regularly watches football with me and doesn’t seem to complain. As soon as she can walk, I’ll be attempting to teach her the basics of the beautiful game too.
SSE became the first major sponsor of the Women’s FA Cup last year. Its four-year deal aims to grow the profile of women’s football and also to invest in the grassroots game.
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.