Women’s football at Dartford

    There has been a Womens team at Dartford for a number of years now but recently things have moved up a level with the London Corrinthians becoming the Dartford Womens team and now, for this season, they are officially know as Dartford FC Women. We recently caught up with a number of their team to discuss the season so far and hopes for the future of the team.
    Team coach Connor Dymond:
    What made you want to coach the womens team?
    I didn’t really want to coach them I sort of fell into it. I met jade and she said they needed someone to coach her team as Paul was recovering from an ankle operation and could I do it until he was back. Then the rest is history. 4 years down the line Paul asked if I’d stay on with him and we’ve done it ever since. He has managed them for the last 10 years.

    You play for Welling. How do you fit coaching the womens team in as well as matches etc.?
    I play for welling, it doesn’t take too much juggling around as I play on Saturdays and the games are on sundays. Training is on Wednesdays and I train personally on a Tuesday and Thursday so it fits perfectly.

    How do you feel the team have been getting on this season?
    Personally I don’t think the season has gone too great. We have lost too many games that we should be winning if we have aspirations of winning the league. But we are still in 2 cup competitions and it might be me being too harsh but that’s what I think we are capable of doing. Winning every single game we go into.

    What are your hopes for the future of the womens team?
    I would love us all to win the league and test ourselves in the league above but it will take time and everyone being on the same wavelength.

    Why do you feel womens football is getting so popular?
    Women’s football is getting more popular because the standard of the football is getting better and it’s definitely filtering down to the lower levels. There are so many more females playing the game from a younger age and that will only be better for the game in a few years time.

    Lizzie Adams (LA) Becky Burnham (BB) Megan Mansfield (MM)
    How do you feel the season has gone so far?
    BB: The season has been good so far and we are having a decent run with both ups and downs. Despite a few losses we have had some great wins and shown how determined we are to get that win when the odds are against us.
    MM: The season so far has kinda been up and down. We’ve had some very good results but we’ve also had games where we should’ve won and we haven’t. Although we’ve had players with injuries , new players coming in and players leaving the squad we’ve tried to keep a good team dynamic. We’re currently on a good cup run and hope to position well in the league.
    LA: After a really strong start to the season we’ve had a mixed run latelt. Like any team we’ve had changes and struggled to get consistent results at times in the League. Still plenty of time for us to put this right especially with the League wide open this year.

    As in previous years we love a Cup Competition too and have had better form in several Cups that we enter including the FA Cup, Kent Cup and League Cup. We’re looking to continue our good run in these Cup games as holders of the League Cup and previous holders of the Kent Cup.

    What do you enjoy about playing football?
    BB: I enjoy playing for a team that is determined to work together in order to play well and do our best to win, as well as the competitiveness of football and how much fun it can be. As a defender I also love a good slide tackle and as a team I love showing everyone how good we can
    MM: I’ve played football since I was around 9 years old so it’s always been a passion of mine. However, as I’ve got older it’s become less about the sport itself and more about the social aspect. It’s amazing having a new set of friendships through playing the game that you love.
    LA: I have always loved playing football since I started at the age of 5. I often found it came naturally to me and I enjoyed the challenge of proving I could play with the boys’ teams growing up.

    It’s been great for fitness and I’ve made so many friends through the different teams I’ve played for.

    In particular at Dartford what I’ve enjoyed the most is the support and sense of being welcomed into a family here. We are incredibly grateful to the club for backing us and all they do to look after us. It makes playing even more enjoyable.

    Why do you feel that Womens football has really grown over the last few seasons?
    BB: I think women’s football has been growing due to more media coverage and exposure of competitions such as the Women’s FA & World Cup. This has helped to promote women’s football and encourage more girls & ladies to get involved as well as bringing in more supporters of Women’s football.
    MM: Women’s football has really grown since the Lionesses were so successful in the 2015 World Cup finishing 3rd for the first time ever. After that success we continued our good form into the Euro’s. One of the ladies biggest successes was winning this years She Believes Cup, I believe this had a huge impact on current ladies spectator numbers and ticket sales.
    LA: The increased profile the Women’s game has received on a national level has helped massively, especially thanks to the Olympics and the most recent World Cups. We’ve always been aware that it was hugely popular in other countries but now it’s getting more of the attention it deserves in the UK.

    We’ve had lots of people tell us that they enjoy the excitement of women’s football and the fact that it is actually different to watching a men’s game (rather than that being a negative thing).

    It hopefully will continue to grow in profile and numbers.:
    What made you chose Dartford?
    BB: I chose to join Dartford because I was familiar with them and knew they were a good side from previous seasons playing in the same league. I wanted to join a team I knew would challenge me and help me improve on my football.
    MM: Dartford presented us with an offer we simply couldn’t refuse whilst playing for the old team London Corinthians. The facilities, the supporters and the club as a whole is just one huge family. I also love how involved Dartford FC is involved in the community. It’s great that at Dartford there’s less of a distinction between the men and women’s team and that we’re almost seen as equals.

    Why should people come along to watch the team?
    BB: I think people should come and watch the ladies team play in order to show their support to both the club and women’s football. We are a good footballing side and are always determined to go out and do our best for each other and for our supporters.
    MM: People should come along and watch Dartford Ladies because we love seeing new faces and boosting the atmosphere around the pitch. As a team we’ve tried to encourage the men’s fans to try women’s football and so far they’ve been very impressed.

    LA: We’re fortunate to play most of our home games on the Main Pitch at Dartford. Playing in the stadium is a real privilege in women’s football due to the lack of funding and profile it has previously had. We want to play in front of as many supporters as possible and always play so much better when we do too!

    We can guarantee you a fun, fast paced and often dramatic game whenever you can make it along to watch us!

    For more information on the Dartford Womens team follow them on social media. Search Dartford FC Women or visit www.dartfordfcwomen.co.uk