We’ve been following This Fan Girl for some time now so we were delighted to see the platform, which was set up to celebrate female fans, set up local grassroots team, Vicky Park Queens. With the help of Kitlocker, they’re now releasing their first kit, with a percentage of profits reinvested into growing the women’s football space in Leicester.
After 12 months of being indoors, This Fan Girl founder Amy Drucquer wanted to set up some casual kickabouts where women could go back to football basics. Having never played football before, she knew there was a knowledge and experience gap that could put people off, so the sessions were aimed at beginners.
From 9 women attending the first session in April, the club has now had over 40 women play during the twice weekly sessions with new faces joining the Queens every week. Open to women and non binary people over the age of 18, players come from as far as Birmingham to join the sessions. The club has also partnered with Leicester based St Martin’s Coffee who have supported by paying subs for players who may not otherwise be able to afford.
Made possible by Kitlocker, the shirt features Vicky Park Queens logo created by local artist Olivia Domingos and Queens text across the front. “It was really hard to find somewhere in Leicester to play women’s grassroots football, so we wanted the kit to be as loud and bright as possible, so you literally can’t miss it anymore”. The shirt is available in two colours, turquoise + vibrant orange and profits will go back to VPQ to pay for coaching qualifications for Leicester based players, putting on additional sessions for the wider community and supporting the wider growth of women’s football in Leicester, with the hope of starting a league in the imminent future.
Amy, This Fan Girl founder and VPQ manager, commented, “I was searching for a long time for opportunities to play football as a beginner in Leicester, and nothing for my experience level existed. Whilst the grassroots scene in London is thriving, the growth of women’s grassroots around the UK has been moving more slowly. I searched on the FA Just Play site, the closest place for me to have played would have been 22 miles away in Derby, which just wasn’t realistic. So, I thought it might be easier to set something up instead. We’ve been blown away by the interest and the numbers of women who’ve come to our sessions. It just proves that appetite is there to play, it just needs to be accessible.
The next year for women’s football is so exciting. We’re already seeing our women’s team on TV, and we have the Euros just around the corner and we have no doubt more women in Leicester will start looking for opportunities to play recreationally, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Oli, Marketing Manager at Kitlocker, added, “We’re always excited to hear from like minded individuals making grassroots sport more accessible. It’s something that should be available to all, and what Amy has done locally will hopefully signal a shift in mindset nationally. If there isn’t a women’s and non-binary team in your area, set one up, there’ll probably be more interest than you think!
Moreover, we LOVE making shirts, especially when they’re as beautiful as this. We can’t wait for the wider public to be able to get their own, because ultimately you’ll be helping the sustainability of one fantastic club.”
Ole, Director at St Martin’s Coffee Roasters, said, “I was a fan of Amy’s work at This Fan Girl long before we met, so it was great when our paths eventually collided in our mutual home city of Leicester. The work that Amy has done in growing Vicky Park Queens has been inspiring to watch from afar, and it has been an honour to contribute in a small way. Grassroots sport and accessibility for all is something we at St Martin’s have a huge passion for, and Vicky Park Queens are providing a much needed space for local women to play the beautiful game we all love.
We can’t wait to watch Vicky Park Queens’ future growth, and will be wearing our shirts with pride!”
The shirt is available to buy via Kitlocker and will retail at £29.95 with a proportion of the profits shared with VPQ. VPQ will also be playing their first game in kit on Tuesday 16th November – contact the club directly on [email protected] if you’d like to come and watch our first game.
You can keep up to date with Vicky Park Queens and find out about joining in training sessions on Instagram.