Thunderbirds bring fun and fitness to the pitch


Thanet’s only ladies recreational football team is marking the end of their second successful season.

Thanet Colts Ladies Vets was set up in 2017 for those who liked the idea of playing football but felt too old, too inexperienced or too unfit.

What started as a way for a few like-minded women to keep fit while avoiding the gym has blossomed, the team has quadrupled in its first two years and continues to thrive.

Women’s football has seen a massive resurgence recently, and Ramsgate FC now has its first women’s team.

But the Colts, or the Thunderbirds as they call themselves, are less traditional.

They range in age from 23-53, some have played before, although maybe not since school, others never.

The emphasis remains on fun and fitness.

Founder member Karina Barker said: “Many of us are of the generation that just didn’t play football at school. That was for boys, we did hockey or netball. Even the younger ones who got that opportunity found that it wasn’t easy to continue as they got older.

We do take it seriously, kind of, but also, it’s about having a great time with friends.”

The recreational women’s football phenomenon is still very new, three years ago there were a handful of teams in the country, now there are over 50, including at least eight in Kent.

Tournaments are held throughout the year.

The Thunderbirds came last at their first ever tournament last Spring, placed third at their next and won their third, just six months later.

Karina said: “Some of us have health issues or care responsibilities, but we can forget all about it for an hour on a Tuesday night, and that’s a big thing.

Our next step is to continue to compete and hopefully bring home some more trophies.

We are actively looking for sponsors to help us get noticed, and to keep expanding and improving.

The sessions are run at very low cost to make it as affordable and accessible as possible, so any help we can receive to do that would be very welcome.”

Julia Musselwhite, from Garlinge, has been on the team since it was established.

She said: “Age and ability are not important, we just enjoy ourselves and love being part of something special.

We have grown so much over the last 18 months, in confidence and ability and we would love a sponsor to support us, as we have so much enthusiasm and determination who knows what we could achieve in the future.”

Training is at Dane Park, Margate on Tuesdays (during term time)  between 7.30pm and 8.30pm. To find out more, visit their Facebook page by searching Thanet Womens Recreational Football.

Report Karina Barker