Katie Chapman joined pupils from five colleges at Cobham on Friday as part of our International Women’s Day celebrations.
In support of our global charity partner, Plan International, 50 young female players descended on Cobham for the football festival with former Chelsea FC Women’s captain and club ambassador Chapman making a surprise appearance.
The participants had the opportunity to quiz the ex-England midfielder on what it takes to make it in the game and the obstacles she had to overcome, while also posing for photos and watching Chapman strut her stuff with the ball.
Chapman, who is preparing to run the London Marathon in support of Plan, spoke of her enjoyment at attending these events, especially after netting the winner in one match. She said: ‘It’s nice to be here to support International Women’s Day, Plan and the Chelsea Foundation.
‘I love playing so to join in and score was great fun! It’s fantastic to see so many girls playing football and enjoying themselves.
‘Women’s and girls’ football is so different to when I grew up. Of course you have the FA Women’s Super League but it goes a lot deeper than that now and the level of these college players is incredible.
‘The Chelsea Foundation does a lot of good work for girls’ football and now as a club ambassador I am getting to see it on a regular basis. It is important we continue to do that and I always enjoy coming along to lend my support.’
The Chelsea Foundation have been celebrating women and girls in football all week, with a girls’ school tournament at Cobham on Tuesday and women’s walking football taking place too.
Sunday will also see the men’s Premier League fixture with Wolves dedicated to Plan.
Keith Harmes, Chelsea Foundation area development manager for Surrey and Berkshire, spoke about the week’s activities and the work done by the Foundation all year to promote women’s and girls’ football.
He said: ‘We’ve had a busy week and it has been great to promote and showcase the work we are doing in female football to help grow the game. From the very young players to our walking football teams, everyone is welcome and football is for all.
‘To have all five colleges we work in – Bexhill, Blenheim, Thomas Bennett, Merrist Wood and West London – at Cobham is great. Each college have a football programme which the Foundation supports in some way. They all play under the Chelsea Foundation banner and it is great to have them all here to meet each other and test each other.’
Click here to find out more about Plan International and its work for girls.