Maccabi GB has taken immediate action to ensure that Team Maccabi GB will send an Open Women’s Football Team to the European Maccabi Games 2015 by announcing plans to hold an Open Football training session for female footballers within the community.
The session, to be held on February 9 at Rowley Lane at 4:30pm, will give players the chance to exhibit their skills and put their chances forward for Berlin, and future international Maccabi tournaments, whilst also allowing anyone interested in managing the Open Women’s Team to announce themselves to Maccabi GB.
Great Britain has not had an Open Women’s Football Team since the European Maccabi Games 2011 in Vienna and, so far, there have been few applications for the next European Maccabi Games in Berlin. However, Maccabi GB is looking to counter this by enlisting the help of two previous Team Maccabi GB athletes – qualified coach and footballer, Kate Freeman, and multi-sport athlete and coach, Claire Lewis. Both have volunteered to assist in the recruitment of female footballers for Berlin and for the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel in 2017.
Freeman is an avid footballer, having taken up the sport in Newcastle where she grew up. She went on to represent renowned Hampstead Women’s FC for six seasons, making over 100 appearances in the process, and currently plays for Camden Town FC, in the London & South East Regional Women League. She was also part of the first-ever Open Women’s Football Team to represent Great Britain at the 18thMaccabiah Games back in 2009.
Lewis is also a footballer, coach and TV/radio pundit. She has played for Mill Hill United, Barnet Ladies, Arsenal Girls and, most recently, for Hampstead Women’s FC alongside Kate. She was appointed an FA Ambassador in 2008 and selected as one of the ten people to front their ‘Get into Football’ campaign in 2006, with England international Michael Owen.
She has a strong affiliation with Jewish sport, having managed in the Maccabi GB Southern Football League (formerly the MSFL) – the only female to do so to date. Claire also represented Team Maccabi GB at the 19th Maccabiah Games in the bronze medal-winning Open Netball Team and currently plays for Poly Netball Club.
Speaking about her involvement, and Maccabi GB’s commitment to Women’s Football, Kate Freeman said, "Maccabi GB is hugely committed to sending both an Open Women’s and Junior Girls Team to the European Maccabi Games in 2015, the Maccabiah Games in 2017 and beyond. Football has given me so much – fitness, friends and an amazing Maccabiah Games in 2009 – and I am keen to do all I can to get more Jewish women and girls to fall in the love with the game and benefit from it as much as I have."
Claire Lewis commented: "Together we are trying to reinvigorate existing footballing talent in the Jewish community and also to discover new players. Our target is to compete at the next two international competitions.
"With Maccabi GB’s support and real momentum behind Women and Girls football we hope that many can enjoy the same feeling we’ve had of representing our country, an Opening Ceremony and, all being well, scoring and celebrating a goal wearing Team Maccabi GB colours."
TMGB Head of Football for Team Maccabi GB Darryl Lee said: "One of the fastest growing areas of football is within the girls and women’s demographic, which is very much against the trend of a predominantly male-dominated sport. I am keen to find a manager who can take the next group of female athletes onto Berlin in 2015 and Israel in 2017 [at the 20th Maccabiah Games].
"I would like to think that there is a manager who would take on this role as I want Women’s football to go to the next level of professionalism and achievement. I urge anybody who is interested to contact Maccabi GB."