Grassroots Figureheads - Zoe Maylin - Basingstoke Town Ladies - Part One
Grassroots football is the heart and soul of the game. For the hundreds of thousands of participants, it is their opportunity to be involved in a sport they are truly passionate about.
Kick It Out will speak to figureheads and representatives of the grassroots game, in a series exclusive to the organisation’s website, as they offer their unique thoughts from the amateur and community level.
In the latest feature, Kick It Out spoke to Zoe Maylin, a player from Basingstoke Town Ladies, as she explains how the club is looking to develop its reputation in the local area
Zoe has always been proactive in her approach to football, with her playing days starting when she was just seven through her local village team coached by her father.
After playing through the ages for a number of teams, Zoe came across her current club Basingstoke Town Ladies.
“I stumbled across Basingstoke Town Ladies and it’s been really good so I’m still there,” she explained.
“I was drawn to them because I had seen they had been successful and I thought I would give it a go to see if I can fit in there. As soon as I joined, everyone was so friendly.
“It wasn’t a cliquey environment, it seemed like an area where everyone was embraced – and that is something that we try and pride ourselves on.”
Zoe has seen Basingstoke progress to the regional divisions of the FA Women’s Premier League, and this is something she and her team-mates are keen to continue with help from the local community.
“Since I’ve been here the club has grown. We now have a reserve team and hopefully we will have an Under-18s team soon. We also want to have links with schools in the area to support these teams; so we’re just trying to raise our presence within the local community and try to reach out to people of all ages.”
Basingstoke Town Ladies are certainly not a full-time outfit and Zoe was quick to praise the efforts of the scores of volunteers who help keep the club running.
“We’ve got lots of really dedicated volunteers who push the growth of the club and without them we would be absolutely stuffed. It’s great to see how much time and effort the volunteers put into the club. Whether that be on social media or on the fundraising side – it’s so vital for the club.”
The Ladies team currently host their fixtures at the men’s ground, meaning sometimes they have to play second fiddle in terms of playing their matches at The Camrose Stadium. The lack of facilities in general is one of the issues the team faces according to Zoe.
“We also don’t have our own home ground. We rent the men’s ground – so we use their facilities. They’ve been absolutely fantastic to us but obviously their fixtures come first. So sometimes if the weather is not great we’ve had games called off. The lack of facilities is a big thing for us I would say.
“We’ve spoken to various schools that have 3G pitches in the hope we can use them for training. And we’re looking for more space to work in so that we can grow the club. It’s something we’re looking into but it’s not currently viable at the moment.
“I think everyone has had the same sort of issues at our level when it comes to facilities. All the teams in our league are amateur, so they share the same problems when it comes to finding good facilities.”
In Part Two, Zoe discusses how the women’s game needs to develop across England as well as her hopes for the future of Basingstoke Town Ladies.