THE RISE and rise of women’s football has made its way down to one of the most passionate hotbeds of the capital.
East London Ladies FC is an all-female football club, which is run by females for females. The club was established by Vivienne Jeffers and Pallavi Patel in 2014, driven by their passion for the sport and desire to give back to the community and engage girls and women into grassroots football.
Vivienne was born and bred in Hackney. She works full time as an IT clinical systems trainer for the NHS.
She is also an FA qualified football coach, who has coached in various areas of London, including in some of the more challenging boroughs.
Vivienne has coached both boys and girls from all walks of life and ages. She is continually seeking to increase her professional development as a coach and is currently waiting to get on to the UEFA B coaching programme.
Pallavi, from Leyton, is a sports development teacher, who works full time in an independent school for girls with behavioural and special educational needs.
“We set up the club as we realised the value and step up that sport can offer girls and women, and believed that sport serves not only to develop girls and women as individuals, but also helps them to develop their sense of comradeship and their ability to communicate with others, thus enriching every aspect of their future lives.
“In addition to this, we noticed the lack of football opportunities for girls and women within east London and wanted to create a club where girls and women could play football and take part in physical activity in a fun and safe environment.
“The club gives girls and women the opportunity to inter- act and socialise within a group that encourages diversity and cooperation.
“In addition, to help develop key life skills, such as discipline and team work, and in turn help to raise aspirations, confidence and self-esteem, encouraging girls and women from all back- grounds to take part in the sport to keep healthy and active.”
Vivienne added: “Our strong passion and desire to promote and develop girls and women in football has led us to creating football opportunities for girls and women, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, ability and sexuality, etc.”
The club currently have over 120 girls and women engaging in football on a weekly basis, aged two to 35-plus, with a senior ladies team playing in the Greater London Womens’ League, who were recently promoted to Division Two North of the Greater London Women’s Football League.
They also have an under 14s team playing in the Camden and Islington League.
Both Vivienne and Pallavi run the club on a voluntary basis while maintaining and fulfilling full-time jobs, five days/evenings a week, in order to provide these opportunities.
“There is a lack of female BAME coaches in England, and we are hoping that young BAME girls and women will see us as positive role models within the sport and see that anything is possible if you work at it,” added Vivienne
“Our long-term vision and goal is to reach out to more girls and women in the community and beyond and create more opportunities to promote grass- roots football and develop individuals.”