A South Derbyshire mum is taking her first steps to a football coaching career - after being inspired at an event hosted by Lidl and The Football Association.

Gill Brown, 37, of Cranfield Avenue, Church Gresley, took part in an Ultimate Football Parent experience at The FA's National Football Centre, at St George's Park, designed by Lidl, to attract more parents into football coaching.

And after learning first-hand from former England captain Faye White, Mrs Brown has now been given the opportunity to embark on attaining her Football Association Level 1 in Coaching Football Badge - and bring girls' football to Albert Village Junior FC.

The Ultimate Football Parent experience was part of The Official Supermarket of the England Team Lidl’s continued commitment to growing the game among girls and encouraging more parents, especially mothers, to make the move from supporter to coach.

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Research shows parents are influential in getting children, and particularly girls, playing football and Lidl wants to encourage more to fill the coaching void and keep developing the game.

Mrs Brown, whose husband is an FA Level 1 coach, said: "I’m very passionate about this. There are less opportunities for girls in football and I want to change this by encouraging girls to join our club.

Gill Brown and Faye White working together

"Female coaches would be a benefit as some girls may feel intimidated by a male coach or group of boys and may find a female more approachable. Our club currently has only 6 girls in 170 registered players and I want to increase those numbers."

As lead partner of The FA Lidl Skills programme, the Ultimate Football Parent is part of Lidl’s drive to get more girls playing football. Through the partnership, The FA is now able to run dedicated girls-only sessions across the country and since the partnership started there has been a 91 per cent increase in the number of girls attending FA Lidl Skills sessions.

Mother Gill Brown and former England captain Faye White get out on the field

Arsenal and England star Faye White, who amassed 90 caps for her country during an international career spanning 15 years, said: "Parents are so vital in the journey to get their children to take up sport and then encourage them to continue playing, particularly for girls.

"In fact, parents are about five times more likely to encourage boys to play football than girls, who need that little bit more encouragement.

"The more opportunities there are for young girls to play football, the more likely they are to keep playing as they grow up so I am delighted that Gill has taken her first steps into football and I wish her the best of luck."

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