Darcy has enjoyed playing lots of different sports at school – netball, hockey, tennis and gymnastics. One sport she hasn’t tried is football.
At the weekend, she says to her dad, “I really want to have a go at playing football, but there aren’t any girls’ teams at school.”
“Let’s go and speak to the local football club and see if you can join in there,” her dad replies.
Darcy quickly changes into some shorts and a t-shirt, puts on her trainers and they head out the door. On their way into the village, they stop at Dave’s field to see if he wants to come with them.
When they get to the club, they ask to speak to someone from the junior section.
“My daughter would love to try playing football, but her school only has a boys’ team. Is there any way she can get involved at your club?” asks Darcy’s dad.
“Of course,” the junior section manager replies. “There are a few other girls from the village who join in with the boys on a Saturday afternoon. Why don’t you go and find one of our spare pairs of boots in the changing room and have a go today?”
Darcy runs off to find some boots, while Dave looks around the club. His eyes bulge at the lush green football pitches and Darcy’s dad quickly says, “Don’t even think about it, Dave! That grass is for playing on, not eating!”
Dave smiles sheepishly and they both laugh.
When Darcy joins the rest of the group, they begin the session with some warm-up activities. The first one is dribbling the ball in and out of a set of cones. Darcy quickly finds that she is kicking the ball too hard, so she tries to be more careful.
Next, they get into pairs and practise passing the ball to each other whilst running up the edge of the pitch. Darcy practises with one of the more experienced boys and he gives her lots of tips for controlling the ball.
After 20 minutes or so, they split into two teams and have a quick match.
“Don’t worry if you don’t understand all the rules,” says the coach. “The others will help you and shout out what to do if you get stuck.”
Darcy plays in the middle of the pitch so she doesn’t have to worry about scoring or stopping goals. At one point, she passes the ball to one of her teammates who then runs the rest of the pitch and scores a goal.
Darcy’s dad and Dave cheer from the side of the pitch!
After the match, the coach lets them all have a go at shooting a penalty. He has noticed Dave watching very enthusiastically from the side of the pitch and asks Darcy if he would like to have a go at scoring a goal.
Dave is so excited and canters over to the group. The coach puts the ball in position, Dave takes a run up and kicks the ball so hard that it flies over the goal posts onto the next pitch!
“Oops,” he laughs with the rest of the group.
“I think someone needs to work on controlling the ball!” says the coach. “Why don’t you two practice at home this week?”
“We can play in your field, Dave, and use your buckets for goalposts,” says Darcy.
The group all help to tidy up the pitch and collect the cones before going and changing.
When Darcy comes back out she says, “that was so much fun, dad! Please can I come back again next week?”
“As long as you do all your homework!” he laughs.
Every night for the next week, Darcy finishes her homework in record time so she can go and play football with Dave. She even ends up playing football in her dreams!
Some owners buy large blow-up balls for their horses to play with. While some horses like Dave are happy to stand in a field and eat grass or take a nap, other horses need a bit more stimulation and ‘playtime’. If you search ‘horse playing football’ on YouTube, you’ll find loads of videos of ponies ‘horsing around’ with a ball and having lots of fun.
If you liked this story, you’ll love the Dave and Darcy series, which you can purchase here.
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