Throughout May and June, The FA is reviewing the impact of The Gameplan for Growth strategy on the women’s and girls’ game.
Launched in March 2017, the strategy pledged to tackle ambitious targets to double participation, double the game’s fanbase and create a high-performance system and world-class talent pipeline for England teams to achieve consistent success on the world stage.
After four seasons the strategy is now concluding, and in the coming months The FA will outline its continued support for women’s and girls’ football with the launch of the 2020-2024 strategy.
This week, The FA reviews how The Gameplan for Growth increased the number of female referees and raised standards throughout the women’s and girls’ game.
The Gameplan for Growth committed to “increase the number and diversity of women refereeing the sport at all levels” by developing The FA’s refereeing structure.
Read the journey and experiences of local young Lili Vaughan - her she got involved, support she received and her aspirations moving forward.
"My refereeing journey didn’t really begin until I had been playing football for three years in my local team Yatton girls in Somerset. I enjoyed playing the game but as my Dad was a referee he encouraged me to consider becoming a referee as another option to continue my involvement in football as I wasn’t going to be able to play women’s football in my area after I had finished as an under16.
I attended an all-female referee course which Somerset FA held in July 2017 and initially did some refereeing in the academies at Bristol City and Bristol Rovers and enjoyed the experience of learning to referee and to act as an assistant with more experienced referees and with the support of mentors. I also refereed at the Advanced Coaching Centre for girls at the GFA which again helped to boost my confidence in a safe environment. As I was still playing during season 2017/18, I was restricted to refereeing on Sunday’s and I started to referee for my local boys’ team and towards the end of the season for the Woodspring Junior League.
For my second season I refereed regularly on the Woodspring League and continued to referee and line on the academies. I was also fortunate to be nominated by the GFA to attend the Grassroots Women Development Day at St Georges Park and met some of the senior women referees and took part in lots of practical and theoretical sessions which increased my confidence and desire to move towards refereeing adults.
In the last season the GFA set up a joint Women’s Development Group with Somerset and with the support of the FA National Manager – Jo Stimpson. This enabled me to meet with other women and girls in the area who were refereeing and to hear Jo and Lisa Benn talk about what was needed to progress more in refereeing.
I was also fortunate to be nominated by the County to attend a tournament at Warwick University, where all the academy teams from the Women Super League were playing. This was a great experience and again I met with lots of other females from around the country who were my age and looking to develop further. Finally, this last season the FA appointed me to be Fourth Official for England Girls U16 V Republic of Ireland U16 at Bisham Abbey where I supported the other officials including my friend Tia Collard from Somerset.
Next season I want to start refereeing adult football both male and female and continue my development before I leave sixth form and go to University so that I can continue my refereeing journey. I am grateful for the support the GFA have given me and hope to progress further."
Lili Vaughan, second from the right
Lili in action, running the line