A teenage goalkeeper for Manchester Girls FC who lives in Salford says football is helping to improve her mental health after the challenges of lockdown.

Talyea, 14, said: “It was very difficult not being able to come to training or get to matches because everything was shut down and we was just sat home not doing much,

“And you’re just training in your backyard or finding a field, you didn’t have the same experience than if you were training with the team.

“I think now that we are back it has definitely benefited your mental health, with football I can get away from school, homework and just focus on the game and my improvement.”

Copyright Bethany Noon, Image shows Manchester Girls FC in training

Salford-based Manchester Girls FC plays in the South Manchester Girls Football League, a league regulated by the FA. Home games are played at Salford Sports Village in Littleton Road.

Chairman and welfare officer of Manchester Girls FC, Scott Grimshaw said: “My daughter started of eight or nine years ago, where there was her and 35 boys. A few girls come along every now and then but it only lasted for a week, because the boys only attended to play with the boys, and she learnt how to be a defender basically because the boys wouldn’t pass.”

Schoolgirl Maggie Fraser, 13, playing for Manchester Girls FC, said: “When you have a ‘role model’, and seeing stars like Emma Raducanu, makes you want to be like them.”

Melanie, a parent whose daughter recently joined competitive football, said: “Her dad found Manchester Girls FC and she has just made a big group of friends,

“I have always been big for her to do extra curricular activities, like karate or swimming, but there is only so much competing you can do, and lockdown didn’t help, you know with getting back into the sport.”

Copyright: Bethany Noon, Image shows Manchester Girls FC in training

Scott continues: “We have got girls that come from different schools across Salford, that all have different hobbies.

“That’s what I love about it. It is not just girls from one school or one group of friends, we have become a fantastic group, family.”

Playing football is a good way to get physically fit, but studies show that the sport can also lead to improved mental health, social confidence and a sense of purpose.

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