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Innovative partnership highlights a new way for women’s football

Posted by Ellie Sargent on

29 March 2016

When Natasha Harding began planning her new soccer school, she probably never imagined sponsoring her former club Cardiff Met LFC.  But, in collaboration with Soccerella, it became a reality last week as the Archers strolled out 4-1 winners in the WPWL wearing their brand new kit.

 

 

This weekend marks the opening of the Natasha Harding Soccer School in Cardiff which will welcome kids aged 5-11 at the new Vale Sports Arena. It’s something she’s dreamed of setting up for a while, but had taken a backseat as a result of her playing career which has seen her play at the likes of Bristol Academy, Manchester City and now Liverpool. However, after suffering an injury last year, Tash was keen to put ideas into practice: “I realised that football is a pretty a short-term job which can end at any time, and I wanted to start developing a sustainable business for myself, whilst also giving back to the community”. This is something that is integral for Tash who recalls of her childhood: “where I’m from and where I grew up there weren’t many opportunities, but football gave me a chance to be successful”.  By collaborating with Jack Cox of the Red Falcon Project, she has finally been able to get the project off the ground, and hopes that the experience she has gained through playing at the highest level will be beneficial to those who attend the soccer school. The school will take place every weekend, and with around 30 kids expected at the opening on Saturday, Tash has suggested that as it grows, she may look to expand to other cities, inline with her career: “The plan is to have soccer schools in Caerphilly, Bargoed and hopefully Liverpool. It’s been a long process to get where we are today, but once its started I’m sure it will develop pretty quickly”.

 

To kit out the soccer school’s coaches, Tash and her business partner Jack chose Soccerella, the new retailer dedicated to supplying women’s-fit football kit, who she has been supporting since its launch in summer 2015.  However, the pair didn’t stop at coaching kits and t shirts for the children, they decided to build on the relationship. With Soccerella looking for a promising team to showcase the women’s-fit look, Cardiff Met LFC, the current Welsh champions and frequent UEFA Women’s Champion’s League competitors, emerged as a perfect fit. As an Archers Alumni, and with her soccer school launching across the city, it seemed a natural fit to collaborate. Tash believed “there was no better way to promote NHSS than by sponsoring Cardiff Met: the professionalism and work ethic of the club matched the objectives for my soccer school” and Jack, who has been a regular face on the side-lines of Cardiff Met’s league campaign, thinks the partnership is something special: “We are really excited about the opening of NHSS, and Soccerella have given us a great opportunity to sponsor a fantastic team in Cardiff Met. I really hope that the relationship we’ve formed can continue to grow in the future”.

 

In their first game sporting the shiny new “she-fit kit” from Errea, the Cardiff Met girls battled to a 4-1 victory, with goals from Welsh International Chloe O’Connor (pictured), Stacey Ayling and a brace from Erin Murray. The result extended their lead at the top of the WPWL, and with 3 games left to play, it brings the return of European football ever closer. To retain the league title would round off another impressive season for the unique outfit, which comprises current and former students, who have already secured the BUCS Southern Premier Championship.  The kit won praise from the girls: “Ever since I started playing football, the kit’s have been unisex, so it makes a nice change to play in something that actually fits properly!” said current player Sophie Scherschel, and Tash has also complimented the kit, stating that “I am a very happy business owner- the kit looks absolutely great!”

 

 

For their part, Soccerella hope that the collaboration will generate further opportunities between the parties.  “Given how happy the girls were with the women’s-fit style, we’re already exploring how we can incorporate this into their training and travel wear,” says Ashley Brown, Soccerella’s founder.  “We think it will give the club a really distinctive look as they seek out European football for the coming season, but more importantly, we’re excited to see how the collaboration between NHSS and the Archer’s will develop over time.  There’s already been talk of coaching opportunities for within NHSS, and we see that as a great chance for some of the players to build their skillsets and make an even bigger impact within the game.”

 

About

Natasha Harding Soccer Schools is a new coaching school for 5-11 year olds in the Cardiff area, led by Liverpool Ladies and Wales international Natasha Harding.  If your kids are interested to get involved, check out http://www.nhsoccerschools.com/ for the latest dates and contact information.

Cardiff Met LFC is the women’s football club of Cardiff Met University, playing in the WPWL and the BUCS Southern Premier.  If you are considering going to university or interested in joining, contact the club at @CardiffMetLFC

Soccerella is the first retailer dedicated to women’s football, with the UK’s widest selection of women’s-fit match and training kit.  If you would like to explore the she-fit kit options for your club, contact ashley@soccerel.la or visit http:// soccerel.la/shefitkit

Don’t forget to follow NHSS, Soccerella and Cardiff Met LFC on Twitter, at @nhsoccerschools,  @wearesoccerella and @CardiffMetLFC respectively.

 


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