By Silvia Favasuli Niamh McKevitt is 16 years old and has been playing football with boys since the age of six. She was the first girl to play in an otherwise all male team at the age of 13 – the age limit for mixed football at that time. But not everything has gone smoothly. Niamh has had to constantly fight against teachers, authorities and coaches who insisted she should only play with other girls. But Niamh never gave up and she became a key subject of an FA research project that, in the end, has allowed girls to play with boys up to the ‘under 18’ level. The journey for Niamh has not been easy, but the tough challenge to make herself accepted by boys and to demonstrate that she was as good as they were has made her a brave and excellent football player. Niamh has also had to fight against stereotypes and sexism but in the end she has learned how to transform the opposition from those who laughed at her into real motivation. When asked why she struggled to play with boys she always has a simple answer: “It’s the best way I could find to become stronger.” Niamh’s objective has always remained constant – to become the best player she could be and this year she made her debut in the Women’s Premier League. Niamh has told her story in her book “Playing with the boys”, a moving true story that, among other things has served to highlight the differences that still exist in the education of girls and boys. The guys are always urged to win at all cost and girls are merely reassured when they fail. Niamh McKevitt In your book, you describe y [...]

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