Club ambassador and former Chelsea FC Women captain Katie Chapman joined more than 100 girls at Cobham on Sunday to celebrate International Women’s Day with Chelsea Foundation and St. Mary’s students.

As a special treat for the aspiring footballers, eight of the Surrey Women’s and Girls League U11 teams were invited to our Cobham Training Ground to take part in an International Women’s Day Football Festival organised by the Chelsea Foundation and St. Marys University students.

The day was arranged via the Chelsea Foundation with students from our Coaching and Development programme at St Mary’s University helping to organise games as well as volunteering on the day, supporting with refereeing and co-ordination.

Chapman, who won two FA Cups, two WSL titles and the Spring Series, in her time as a Blue, said: ‘I had a great time attending the event at Cobham and it was great to see so many young girls taking part in the football festival.

‘The number of females attending the event just shows how much the women’s game has progressed over the last few years and long may it continue.

‘The event was part of our International Women’s Day celebrations and hopefully me coming has helped to empower and inspire the participants to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.’

Sunday’s event was followed on Monday evening by an International Women’s Day Symposium hosted at St. Mary’s University, in which eight guest speakers from the female game, or females working in the wider game, delivered to the student body and general public.

The Foundation partner closely with St. Mary’s University to deliver our Degree in Football Coaching and Development, aimed at developing future industry professionals.

The Symposium is the fourth of its kind this season, and invites the general public, and student-body to experience talks by those in the industry, related to the symposium topic, often with a blend of academics and industry professionals.

The symposium relating to International Women’s Day showcased both our support for the campaign overall, as well as the underlying goal to diversify our outward facing promotional materials, footprint on the women’s game and student-body.

Chelsea Foundation project officer Adrian Salisbury said: ‘It was great for the St. Mary’s programme to support International Women’s Day through both the festival and symposiums.

‘It provided an opportunity for over 100 girls to come and visit the Cobham Training Ground and take part in an afternoon of football, which would not have happened without our St. Mary’s and Chelsea Foundation staff and students planning and delivery.

‘Katie was also fantastic in inspiring the girls, sharing stories and encouraging them throughout, which will hopefully go some way to supporting a life-long affiliation with the game, and ideally Chelsea.’

For more information on programmes available through Chelsea Foundation and St Mary’s University, contact [email protected] or [email protected]