Girls football receives a boost from the Dons Trust
The Dons Trust has once again shown its commitment to football in the community by agreeing to sponsor the Morden Girls League (MGL) for an eighth season.
It is an association that has been of great benefit to both parties since 2006 with the financial support having helped MGL to provide free football for teenage girls and players such as Jodie Fernandes (pictured above) having come through the local league to play for AFC Wimbledon Ladies. Many of the girls who play in the league have also adopted AFC Wimbledon as their favourite men’s team and often come along to watch games at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Building up such strong links with community football has stemmed from the Trust’s generous £500 sponsorship, which MGL Chairman, Michael Ross, says is crucial in maintaining free football opportunities for girls aged between 13 and 15.
“The amount pledged by the Dons Trust is probably around 20 per cent of our budget for the season and the great thing about the donation is that we are not limited to what we can do with it,” Michael said. “A lot of the other grants that we get are not flexible as to what we can do with the funds. Most of the donation from the Dons Trust will go towards pitch hire and without this contribution it would be hard for us to continue to provide free football.
“Our big philosophy is offering free football for girls. We say to parents that they can pay a £10 voluntary donation, but if they cannot afford it then we will not charge them. These are challenging times and we have noticed a decline in numbers playing girls football, though I think that has also happened in boys football too. We will now often recruit players from local schools with good footballing traditions. Most of our players go onto play for AFC Wimbledon Ladies and Girls, along with other local teams in the area.”
The Morden Girls League stages fixtures on Saturday mornings at the King George’s Playing Fields and offers 60-70 girls from Merton, Kingston and Sutton free football every week. One of the teams is called Crazy Girls and though this is purely coincidental, Michael is proud of the league’s links with AFC Wimbledon as he is a big Dons fan who attended the 1988 FA Cup Final.
“The Dons Trust sponsor the entire league and though it may look like they have their own team with a link to the Crazy Gang, the name came about because the team was formerly sponsored by a local company called Plumb Crazy,” added Michael. “But we have always had strong links with AFC Wimbledon and many of us are Dons fans. The association also offers girls an opportunity to progress to AFC Wimbledon Ladies and Girls. Jodie Fernandes graduated from the Morden Girls League and it has been good to regularly read about her scoring for the club on the website.”
Dons Trust Board Chairman Matthew Breach said: "We strongly support initiatives within our local community to encourage participation in football and we are pleased to continue an association with Morden Girls League that started in 2006. We are particularly pleased to receive positive feedback from the club’s fans who manage teams or from parents who have girls playing in the league. Since the start of our sponsorship, many of the girls who play in the league have come to watch the Dons so it is a win-win association for both parties."
.Women’s FootballThe Morden Girls League are holding trials for girls aged between 13 and 15 to play for its teams this Saturday at King George’s Playing Fields between 10.30 am and 12 noon. For information, please e-mail Michael Ross by clicking on