Burgess Hill junior girls tournament breaks records as Women's Euros head for Sussex

More than 800 players took part in one of the country’s biggest ever grassroots all girl’s football tournament last weekend in Sussex, just days before the county prepares to welcome the UEFA Women’s Football European Championships.
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The girls aged between 6 and 14 years old and representing 100 teams from across Sussex and the south-east took part in the two-day event in Burgess Hill, run The Russell Martin Academy and Burgess Hill Town Juniors Football Club.

Now in its second year, the tournament has grown in popularity thanks to the huge increase in interest in the women’s game and the Women’s Euros.

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The American Express Community Stadium will host three games during the tournament including England’s Group A clash against Norway on Monday (11th July), when over 200 girls from The Russell Martin Academy (RMA) and Burgess Hill Football Club will be part of a sell-out crowd.

Action from the girl's tournament at Burgess HillAction from the girl's tournament at Burgess Hill
Action from the girl's tournament at Burgess Hill

The girls tournament which was run by a number of volunteers is part of a wider joint football programme between RMA and Burgess Hill Town aimed at giving more girls the opportunity to play the game which includes opportunities for girls to progress to elite level.

Russell Martin, Founder, Russell Martin Foundation & Russell Martin Academy, said: “To have over 800 girls taking part in the tournament is incredible and shows the interest there is in the women and girl’s game.

"Having the Euros in England and here in Sussex can only help inspire more girls to play and that is fantastic for the future of the game. It’s no longer an unrealistic dream for women to play at the same level as men and that’s how it should be.

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“It’s vital that events like this and football programmes like the one we offer with Burgess Hill Town Juniors continue to give more girls the opportunity to play the game and I’m sure this tournament will be even bigger next year.”

Tina Alfieri, Head of Girls, Burgess Hill Town FC Juniors, added: “It was a huge team effort to put together a tournament of this size, but it really shows how far the women and girl’s game has come.

"There were some incredible skills on display from the girls taking part and hopefully it’s an experience they will want to repeat.

“The tournament is just one example of what can be achieved when a football academy and a local grassroots football club work together and complement each other.

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"The partnership we have with RMA means that our girls get to benefit from the expertise and high level of coaching that RMA provide whilst getting the opportunity to train and play regularly for a grassroots team and all the benefits that brings.”

To find out more about the girls football programme offered by The Russell Martin Academy visit www.russellmartinfoundation.co.uk