Millwall defender drops in on Brixton’s women’s 5-a-side league

Players take to the field on Thursday night
Players take to the field on Thursday night

Millwall Lionesses defender Leanne Cowan ran a training session at the newly formed Leagues Ahead affordable women’s 5-a-side league at the Marcus Lipton Community Centre in Brixton on Thursday.

The Leagues Ahead women’s league was set up in June by Ian Horne and Mike Carre with the aim of making football more affordable.

“A lot of places charge what they can rather than what they should,” said Horne. “Our whole ethos is to provide affordable leagues as a lot of people are being priced out of 5-a-side football in London.”

Millwall full back Cowan ran a training session for those in attendance on Thursday night and spoke of the benefits of 5-a-side for player development:

“You get more touches of the ball and it’s high tempo which improves fitness. It also forces you to be more creative as you’re facing up to people and having to take them on.”

Leanne Cowan puts players through their paces
Leanne Cowan puts the players through their paces

The success of the Women’s Super League and last year’s World Cup, in which England went out in the semi-final to Japan, has seen a growth in both popularity and participation in women’s football.

“There’s definitely greater recognition,” says Cowan. “But whatever level you’re playing at the most important thing is to enjoy it. It’s still my release and what makes me happy.”

Leagues Ahead is open for individuals and teams to join at a cost of £5 and £35 per session respectively. Those interested can find out more on the website ( or by contacting the league direct at