Council helps Hammersmith's Starz shoot for the moon

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The recent Perseid meteor storm wowed a lot of people, but there’s a new team of shooting stars hoping to impress in Hammersmith this year.

The Hammersmith Starz Ladies Football Team was only founded in May but the players are already set to make their mark in the Greater London Women’s Football League this autumn under the guidance of experienced manager, Michael Smith.

With a bit of help from Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Michael was put in touch with children’s football coaching specialists, Shooting Starz, who teach in Ravenscourt Park, and the idea for the new ladies squad was formed.

“I guess we first started talking about it with the council back in February and March and I had previous experience with coaching women’s teams, having coached South London and then Battersea and Wandsworth for many years,” said Michael.

Michael and staff at H&F recognised there was a paucity of opportunities for women to both train and play in the local areas, with many of the established ladies’ teams around Hammersmith training out of the local area.

And from the team’s rapid growth, it was clear there was a demand for what the team was offering.

“We train at Ravenscourt Park. We held our first training sessions in May and June with coaching from Shooting Starz. At the first session there were nine ladies, then 11 the next week, then 17, then 25. In total now we’ve had some 62 different people turn up,” added Michael.

Interest has been further bolstered, he says, by the success of the England women’s football team in the World Cup earlier this year.

The team has secured a hall at the Latymer School in King Street for winter training and will play matches at Barn Elms, just over the river in Barnes.

Their first pre-season friendly, earlier this month, resulted in a 1-1 draw against Regents Park, but was followed up with a 4-0 win over Putney Vale. The league proper commences on 30 August with the ladies competing in Division 3 South of the Greater London Women’s Football League, the bottom division.

“But you’ve got to start somewhere,” adds Michael, who has clocked up some eight years’ experience of the league. This knowledge helped him know that coming to H&F for help would be key to getting the Starz off to a good start.

He explained: “I knew from previous experience it was a little bit easier to start up a new team with a bit of council backing behind you, in terms of obtaining grants for equipment and they gave great advice and helped with contacting the schools.”

The Starz include ladies of all abilities ranging from age 17 (players must be at least 16) up to those in their late 30s and include a wealth of nationalities with Aussies, Kiwis, Spaniards, Hungarians and an Icelandic lady among their ranks.

For more information or to get involved, visit their Facebook page or call Michael on 07789 432 718.

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