Girls United Hosted Over 200 Grassroots Players in a 5-A-Side International Women’s Day Celebration

Girls United Hosted Over 200 Grassroots Players in a 5-A-Side International Women’s Day Celebration

Women supporting women, one kick at a time.

March 15th 2023

Over the weekend, 230 players took part in Girls United’s annual International Women’s Day tournament with hundreds of attendees helping the non-profit organisation reach its fundraising goal of £6k to support the creation of safe spaces for girls and young women in football.

30 London-based grassroots teams competed in 129 games across six pitches - shoutout to those who balled out on the VERSUS pitch! - with South London Laces, Football Beyond Borders Women, and Deep Heat ending the day with medals in hand.

In addition to the football, participants were also invited to the 'Challenge Pitch' to take part in different activities to win some serious prizes that included match-worn shirts and boots from Girls United Global Ambassador and Real Madrid baller, Caroline Weir.

The theme of this year’s fundraiser was ‘Make Space’, a statement in response to a recent Women in Sport survey that revealed 49% of girls don’t feel safe exercising in their local park. Whilst 79% stated, having access to changing facilities and toilets had a direct impact on their decision to participate in sport. Girls United Founder & CEO Romina Calatayud said: “this year’s key message of making spaces for the next generation of players in which they feel comfortable, empowered and most importantly safe, is something we all feel so strongly about. The fact it resonates with so many people shows just how much the lack of access to such spaces needs addressing.”

The grassroots tournament is only one International Women’s Day event that took place across Girls United’s locations in London and Mexico. Through the ‘Love The Game x Nike’ programme, girls at partner schools in South London took part in active workshops aimed at redefining female role models. Meanwhile in Quintana Roo, Mexico, 65 players and over 150 supporters attended a Girls United International Women’s Day youth tournamen.

Since its launch in 2017, Girls United coaches have provided over 5,000 hours of sessions to approximately 4,500 participants in London and Mexico combined. With more and more girls and young women kicking ball than ever before, organisations like Girls United provide vital support and guidance to some of the game's most marginalised groups.

If you'd like to support Girls United on their mission to provide equal sporting opportunities to girls across the world, you can donate here.

Check out some of the images from the tournament below. Photography by Ellie Ramsden for VERSUS.