'I tried one of the only women 5-a-side leagues in Wales and it showed me football is for everyone'

Two women playing football
-Credit: (Image: John Myers)


For those who know me the words clumsy, uncoordinated and not gifted with a talent for sport might come to mind. Don't get me wrong I love sport, both watching it and playing it, however, I am not good at it.

I enjoy going to the gym, where I will only touch some of the scary-looking machines when with my friend, I "play" tennis, I run around chasing the ball a lot, and I'm always down for a friendly kick about, I don't really touch the ball, after work with my colleagues. So when I was invited down by Gol Cardiff to try out their new female football 5-aside-league, which only began two months ago, I was unsure if any team would actually want me.

Thankfully the lovely Mead for Speed very kindly said I could come and play with them so I borrowed my friend's shin pads and socks, ever the professional, and went along on a Thursday night. The women's 5-aside league was set up by Gol when they received funding from FA Wales which meant they could spruce up their women's changing rooms, making Gol more inclusive.

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I had been to Gol twice before, for those after-work kickabouts, and naturally, it doesn't scream the most female-friendly place. While you know that all the men there are very likely to be friendly and considerate when walking through crowds of them to get to the pitch, you can't help but feel slightly out of place - especially as you only need to glance at me to see I'm not a natural born footballer.

Women playing football
I did my best to contribute to the team -Credit:John Myers

It was great on Thursday night to see lots of women using the fab facility and not only women playing but women cheering on their teams and enjoying a drink in the bar - a very different vibe from my previous visits. Mead for Speed is a lovely team who all welcomed me and made me feel very comfortable, so after watching one game, before I knew it was time for kick-off.

I came on as the first sub, there are subs every four minutes during the 40-minute game which has a break at halftime, and was soon running around the pitch. It was great fun to be exercising outside, I think sometimes it is easy to forget how much just being outside and moving about is such a physical and mental health benefit - it beats the gym any day.

Woman in goal
I had a go in goal -Credit:John Myers

I tried to get involved in the game, mostly I just desperately ran after the ball, and soon had my heart rate going and felt like I was really exercising my body. I even had a stint in goal, where I managed to save one! We won't talk about how many I let in.

It was really good fun being part of a team and feeling comradery with my teammates. Despite having never really played football I really enjoyed the experience and it showed me that sport really is for everyone. Want less ads? Download WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android.

Two women playing football
I really enjoyed playing with the team -Credit:John Myers

You don't have to be good at the game, you just have to be willing to give it a go. If you are an individual looking to get involved Gol can match you up with a team or you can enter your own team. Find out about the latest events in Wales by signing up to our What's On newsletter here.

All the women were friendly and welcoming and I left thinking how fun it would be to return and give it another go - which is not something I thought I would feel after. It is great to see Gol taking steps to welcome more women into the game and this is something which should only continue going forward. Football and sport is for everyone and while it seems simple, that is the powerful message I took away from the experience.