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Long Stratton Women's Kathryn Critchell takes on England coaching role with Walking Football Association

Walking football has become more and more popular in recent years – and Long Stratton Women’s Kathryn Critchell is excited to be playing such a prominent role.

As well as turning out for Stratton’s 11-a-side team on Sundays, Critchell has been capped on three occasions by the England Walking Football’s Over-40s Women’s team, who are associated with the Walking Football Association.

And she will now juggle those responsibilities with a coaching role as part of the soon-to-be-formed England Over-60s Women’s set-up.

Long Stratton's Kathyrn Critchell
Long Stratton's Kathyrn Critchell

“The sport is really growing and I feel like it would have really exploded had it not been for Covid,” said the Newton Flotman resident.

“The men are a few years ahead but more and more ladies are playing and we are quickly following behind.

“The WFA are introducing some new age groups because of the number of people wanting to get involved.

“The trials for the Over-60s have been put back until April because of Covid-19, but it is really exciting to be involved as a coach and I cannot wait to get started.”

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic taking hold, Critchell was also working alongside the Norfolk FA to put on regular walking football sessions for ladies who were keen on playing the sport.

Once restrictions are lifted, the hope is that a team can be formed.

Critchell added: “Walking football is the highlight of some people’s week and not being able to play at the moment is tough.

“It’s not just the sport side of it, there is a big social element to it as well.

“A lot of the people playing thought they would never kick a ball again, while others are trying it for the first time.

“It’s a great way to keep fit and for people to roll back the years.

“I got involved with sessions at Long Stratton a couple of years ago and have not looked back since.”

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