Andover New Street Youth has a long and proud history of girl’s football. They were one of the first clubs in the county to form the first two girl’s teams in 1998, at a time when girls were only allowed to play in mixed teams while they were at Junior School.
In early 2021 an idea was born to make an opportunity for girls football even bigger. Andover New Street Youth had only ever had two or three older teams, and their youngest player then was 11. So, when two little 8-year-olds, Bella and Jessica, asked the U7 ANSY Foxes coach, Ali Seth, whether they could have their own team, instead of just watching their own sisters, they couldn’t really say no!
A simple idea was born of inviting girls of all ages to come for some free football sessions to see if a few teammates could be found for Bella and Jessica. Little did they know at the time the success story that was about to unfold for the club. A name was needed and ‘Vixens’ was chosen, named in honour of New Streets home ground Foxcotte Park. And so late on a Tuesday night a few invites were put out on some local Facebook sites to see if there was any interest.
Vixens went live a few days later on the Friday and the response was incredible when a sea of excited girls of all ages arrived eager to play and learn. Ali knew he couldn’t cope on his own so Nic Turpin, and the girls from the U16s came to help. With no other opportunities like this available in Andover the numbers grew and grew in a matter of weeks. By week 4 there were so many girls that they had to split the older girls onto a separate day.
So, the magic of Vixens was born and against all expectations Andover New Street Youth didn’t just find one or two more teams, they expanded from three to nine in the space of four months, ranging from their impressive U16s who are taking the Junior Premier League by storm to our Vixen Cubs, the amazing 4-6 year old training group. They have gone from eight coaches to thirty one with countless other volunteers making it all happen behind the scene.
A year later the playing field at Harrow Way is now a sea of Vixens in green shirts every Friday night, the excitement, the friendships, the support and the infectious atmosphere fills the field as girls of all ages learn, train and most of all have fun.
These girls are really starting to become the talk of Andover! A true success story for the girls of Andover.
Ali has now become the Development Officer for Vixens, and he couldn’t be prouder of what they have achieved. ‘Its been an incredible 12 months. Emotional, exhausting, exhilarating and utterly awe inspiring in equal measures. I’m so grateful for the faith that the Club, and then the parents have put in me and these amazing group of girls. Its only when I look at those photos that I realise what we’ve created. And this weekend has been particularly special. On Friday 20th May I watched three of our youngest and earliest recruits, Ava, Ava and Ruby graduate from the Cubs to become full Vixens when they trained with the older girls for the first time. And then on Sunday I had the privilege of taking our U8 Vixens to an U9 tournament. We needed some help, so two of my absolute favourite U9s, Rubie and Sav volunteered to join the little ones for the day. And that meant that little Molly had some awesome support as she made her footballing debut. She’s the latest of over 80 Vixens to have done so since September, and I’m so proud of each and every one of them.’
Each session is covered by New Street Youth FA qualified coaches, with the support of our older players the amazing Andover New Street U16 girls (or Super-Vixens as we like to call them!) who still help to coach the Under 5 and Under 6 Vixen Cubs. Amazingly a large number of the Super Vixens have already studied and passed their FA Playmaker qualification, the first step on the coaching qualification ladder.
And the future? The club believe that the sky’s the limit. When the season starts in September they will have expanded again, to twelve teams. And as ever, they will continue to never turn a girl away who’d like to see if she wanted to become a Vixen. Ali also has a little plan to enter one of the teams in a mixed (ie >99% boys) league for some additional experience, but that’s top secret! Most of all, we will live by the mantra that has got us this far.
We are more than girls who play football, we are VIXENS!!!!!!