Village football club sees huge surge in interest after Lionesses' triumph
- Credit: Derrick Johnson
A village football team has enjoyed a huge surge in interest after England's triumph at Euro 2022.
Derrick Johnson, from Hockering Football Club, said the number of players and parents getting in touch since the Lionesses beat Germany on Sunday had been "unbelievable".
Their win at Wembley has been hailed as a crucial moment in increasing diversity in football.
And Mr Johnson, club secretary at Hockering FC, based near Dereham, revealed the historic victory was already having a marked effect at grassroots level.
"Within the club there were only three or four girls before," he said.
"We have always advertised and would constantly say everyone is welcome. After England lifted the trophy we put something up on Facebook and said 'let's see what comes from it'.
"Within minutes we were flooded with messages and enquiries.
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"I thought maybe we would get a nice little boost, but I absolutely did not see it exploding like it has. It has been ridiculous; the impact has been unbelievable."
Hockering FC was founded in 2017 as a men's team, before expanding into youth football.
It now has children's teams spanning from under-6s to under-14s, and offers Wildcats girls training on Wednesday evenings.
Mr Johnson said almost 10 new girls had begun training this week after being inspired by their heroes, adding that a leap in interest had been seen across all ages and genders.
"Our old women's team fell apart at one stage for various reasons, but we've had some interest there so we might start that up again," he said "There are about 11 women aged 16 and above who want to form a team and get started with some friendlies.
"A couple of young lads have joined off the back of the Euros as well.
"We look at it from the point of view that it doesn't matter if you are a young boy or a young girl. Everyone here is given the same opportunities."
The 42-year-old also highlighted his desire to see an increase in spectator support for women's football.
"The only negative is the focus on getting more people to Women's Super League matches," said Mr Johnson.
"That's all well and good, but what about the ladies teams at Norwich, Fakenham and King's Lynn? We need to get people down to local games as well."