Albion in the Community (AITC) held its first-ever Zumba® Fitness Football session at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre last Friday night, which proved to be a resounding success.
A total of over 70 women aged between 13 and 65 attended this brand new exercise class combining dance, music and football skills, which is the brainchild of AITC women’s and girls’ football development officer, Kim Stenning.
Stenning was delighted with how the evening panned out and was thrilled to see such a variety of women taking part in the event.
She told seagulls.co.uk, “It was brilliant to see so many women of all ages enjoying football and dance. It was great, they really inspired me and I hope they had as much fun as I did.
“Some of the youngest girls that took part don’t play club football, so to get young girls involved in an event like this is brilliant.
“But it was important to make sure that all age groups can take part and an activity like this is simple and fun.
“I’ve asked for weekly and monthly sessions and more people are looking at the video of the class on Facebook.
“We might be able to do a ten-week programme and ask all these women to come back again on a regular basis!”
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National women and girls' football manager at the Football League Trust, Nicole Meredith, took part in the event and praised AITC for this innovative concept.
“It’s absolutely amazing to see 70 women turn up to this event, especially as there are probably people here that have never kicked a ball before or really been interested in sport.
“To put dance and football together has attracted a whole new audience. I’ve seen some similar things, but nothing as good as what I saw here.
“Programmes like this are really important because it increases female participation in football from different walks of life.”
Brighton & Hove Albion women first-team player Charley Boswell and captain Jay Blackie were also in attendance. Blackie highlighted the benefits of the session and believes it’s a brilliant concept.
She added, “Combining dance and football has helped to bring women who have perhaps got different hobbies or skills together.
“I am sure that it will help to increase female participation in football and help to improve their overall fitness and well-being. There are a lot of women who like football, who probably don’t feel they’re good enough to play it, so to put the two together is a fantastic idea."