Female firefighters turn up the heat at national football competition

Female firefighters from West Yorkshire competed against teams from across the UK to reach the finals of an inaugural five-a-side football match.

Team of WYFRS female football players

The first women’s Firesports UK and English Fire Service Football tournament took place recently in Manchester. A team from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) entered and were thrilled to reach the finals. However, they were just beaten in the last match by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, who have agreed to host the next games.

Firefighter Alice Coggan took part in the match and said it was a fantastic event, with teams joining in from as far away as West Sussex and Cornwall. “The competition was organised by Gaz Philips from Greater Manchester Fire Service,” she said. “He recognised the lack of competition for female firefighters and wanted to change that, so he set up the female section of the Firesports UK and English Fire Service Football.”

Women’s football has seen a surge in popularity, especially after England's Lionesses won Euro 2022 in a blaze of glory back in July. Even before then it was one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, with more women playing at every level.

Alice, who is based at Cookridge Fire Station, said the tournament featured 14 female teams playing five-a-side matches. “We were split into two groups and played everyone in our group, winning all of the games,” she said. “Then WYFRS played in the semi-final against the runners up from the other group, which was Staffordshire, and we won. In the end we played a tough final against the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and lost to them, so finished runners up.

“We all had a fantastic time and it was a shame not to win – but there is always next time, as we are hoping to take part in the tournament again next year. The event meant a lot to everyone involved, especially as the trophy was named after Fleur Lombard, the first female firefighter to lose her life in the line of duty.”