Coach Claire gives football a new face

By Danny Caro, December 18, 2008
Leader of the pack: Recognised as a "fantastic coach" by the FA, Claire Lewis wants to see more women in soccer

Leader of the pack: Recognised as a "fantastic coach" by the FA, Claire Lewis wants to see more women in soccer

Football-loving Claire Lewis has been appointed as an FA Ambassador.
Lewis, 27, joins the likes of former England international Viv Anderson, Paul Elliott, Brendon Batson and Hope Powell as figureheads for equality and spreading The FA’s message of Football for All.

Lewis said: “It’s a really exciting appointment for me and I can’t wait to get stuck in. The FA liked my enthusiasm and offered me the role on the spot. They liked my involvement with the Jewish community and see me as someone that can bring more girls and women into the football at grassroots level.

The Mill Hill Synagogue member first helped the FA front the Get Into Football campaign in 2006, a project headed by Michael Owen, and is looking forward to travelling the country to encourage youngsters and women to get involved in the game.

“All I want to do is see more young girls participating as I know how much I’ve got out of the game. It’s a really exciting community project.”

FA Equality Manager Lucy Faulkner commented: “We chose Claire as an FA Ambassador as she was a face of our Get into Football campaign a couple of years ago. Not only that but she’s a superb role model for Jewish women and a fantastic female football coach.”
Claire’s football career started in the back garden with her dad, Philip, before playing for youth teams at Mill Hill United, Barnet and Arsenal Girls.

And the Spurs season ticket holder was so passionate about the game that, as a 16-year-old, she started her own club at school.
The Warwick University graduate said: “I ran the coaching sessions myself and just copied the skills and drills we used in lacrosse lessons.”

She has travelled across Europe watching England in both World Cup and European Championships and was even a regular BBC London pundit during Germany 2006.

Claire then managed MSFL side Red Sea and later became Director of Football. She now plays for Hampstead Ladies and has been selected for Team GB Maccabiah women’s squad. She will be joined by boyfriend Ricky Kennet, who plays for North West Neasden and is in the Open futsal squad, and father Philip, who is in the Masters squad.

Philip said: “I am really proud of Claire’s appointment. Her commitment to grass roots football is unique and very valuable to the FA. She has demonstrated a clear understanding of the key issues and I know she will take this role very seriously. We are all extremely proud and she will do a great job.”

Last updated: 5:36pm, December 18 2008