Seamus Coleman and Gabby George have become the first Premier League and Barclays Women’s Super League players to sign up as official advocates of Her Game Too.
The duo kicked off their formal support of the campaign by inviting youngsters from an Everton School Supporters’ Club to Finch Farm for a special event to celebrate International Women’s Day.
In December 2021, Everton became the first top-flight football club to formally support Her Game Too, which aims to champion women in sport and tackle sexist and online abuse.
While various activities have since taken place to highlight that support, Coleman and George have now become the first two top-flight players to officially back the initiative.
Their duties will include raising awareness of Her Game Too and its key messages, and educating teammates and fans about progress and positive steps being taken at Everton and beyond.
The launch event saw Coleman and George surprise youngsters from Wavertree Primary School by joining in a coaching session put on by Everton in the Community staff, before sitting down to discuss female role models and answer questions about inclusion in football.
As an extra treat, the children were given complimentary tickets to Everton’s WSL match against Liverpool at Goodison Park on Friday 24 March and a goody bag.
Explaining why he wanted to become a Her Game Too advocate, men’s senior captain Coleman said: “Having two daughters myself, I was more than happy to put my name forward.
“Women have a massive place in football, not just playing but watching, commentating, punditry – whatever it may be. I want my daughters and other young women and girls to have the same opportunity as I have had and to be able to enjoy the game in a safe environment where they always feel they belong.
“Football is a game for everyone and, as a Club, we have taken positive strides to promote inclusion across sport and society. Supporting campaigns like this one can only help spread that message further.”
George became Everton’s first full-time professional player in 2017 and has since seen attitudes towards women in football improve in line with the growth of attendances and the popularity of the sport.
However, she believes it is important to continue taking steps to stamp out sexism and misogyny.
She said: “Having women’s footballers out there on Sky Sports and the BBC playing and commentating is great. Children growing up will see that and see that it is part of the game now, whereas growing up that wasn’t the case for my generation.
“I believe as the game grows, attitudes towards women in the game – be that playing, watching or working in the game - will continue to get better.
“To have the opportunity, alongside Seamus, to help that happen is a real honour.”
The England international also commented on the activity session and ticket giveaway on the day.
She said: “They were teaching me a few tricks to do at Goodison Park when we play the derby and it will be great to see the kids there in a few weeks.
“These are the fans of the future and we want to keep growing our fan base and also that understanding of the stature of the women’s game.
“This season the support has been phenomenal and walking out to a bumper crowd at Goodison is going to be a real boost.”
Sam McPartland, Her Game Too’s Everton Ambassador, was behind the idea to introduce player advocates, with encouragement from the Everton Fans’ Forum Her Game Too lead Tony Sampson.
After watching the youngsters engage in a mixed football session and highlight women who have inspired them, she said: “I’m so proud of Everton, Seamus and Gabby for committing to this. Players are role models to supporters of all genders and, with their profiles, I think they can make a huge difference.
“Education is an important way to get our message across and it was brilliant to hear the kids learn something new today and enjoy playing football together. I can only see the campaign continuing to grow because football truly is for everyone."
To learn more about Her Game Too, head to hergametoo.co.uk
To report incidents of sexist abuse witnessed at Goodison Park, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text HELP and your message to 84300.
Tickets for the WSL Merseyside derby at Goodison Park (24 March, 7.30pm) are now on general sale. For more information or to secure your seat, click here.