FAQ
What is London Lesbian Kickabouts?
When do you play?
Where do you play in Regents Park?
Where do you play in Camden?
What does it cost?
What sort of pitch do you play on?
How long do you play for?
How many players are there a side?
How do you pick the sides?
How are the teams organised?
What playing rules are there?
What's the age/skill range of the players?
Do games go ahead in bad weather?
What should I wear?
Do I need to bring anything else?
Do you socialise outside games?
Is it all serious?
Is there any training?
Is there any general etiquette for playing?
Is there any anything I'm not allowed to do?
How many players have been barred?
What happens in the changing rooms?
Do you play any matches or in tournaments?
Have you won anything?
Do you get involved in campaigning?
How often do people injure themselves?
How do I get on the mailing list?
What do I do next?

What is London Lesbian Kickabouts?

LLKA or 'London Lesbian Kickabouts' to give it's full name, was set up about nearly 10 years ago by accident. A few dykes kicking a ball around with jumpers for goalposts. Now we have 3 sets of our own goalposts, 6 versions of our own strip, over 300 lesbians on our data base and about 70 regular players.

It is a non-commercial, non-money-making concern based on the goals of social, non-cliquey football, co-operation and open access to all lesbians who want to play.

You are free to come to any events you want to and not bother with any you don't want to come to. You are welcome to attend regularly or "dip" in and out of the events as your time allows you.

When do you play?

There are two regular playing dates:
  • Thursdays 7pm at Handyside Indoor Sports Pitch, Kings Cross
  • Sundays 1pm in Regents Park - sometimes we play at 2pm - check the home page for the current Sunday playing time

Where do you play in Regents Park?

By the Gloucester Gate end. Get to Camden tube and walk up Parkway and you'll come to it. You'll see us just off the path on the grassy arae to the right with the bright green goalpost bags (we'll probably still putting them up/lounging around waiting to get going if you arrive dead on two pm).

Where do you play in Camden?

The official address is Tapestry Building, Kings Cross, but it's not the easiest to find so below are some detailed instructions!

At the junction of Stable Street and Handyside Street face west (i.e. towards the new buildings and away from the old stable block for those of you who don’t have a compass to hand). Keep walking down Handyside Street past the Everyman cinema on the corner and then turn left down the street after the cinema. The pitch is on your right before you get to the Gasholders. It is on the ground floor of a residential building/tower.

Here's a map of where it is: Handyside Sports Pitch

What does it cost?

Sunday events are free, while on Thursdays we ask for a contribution of £5 towards the hire of the pitch. This is a set fee regardless of how many people turn up. Generally over time the weeks where there are not enough people to cover the overall cost (£70) are evened out by those where there are more than enough. There is no profit-making element in anything LLKA does. If there is a gradual accrual of money over time due to these pitch fees then this will be used towards other club costs, e.g. buying new bibs, goalie gloves, balls etc

What sort of pitch do you play on?

The Thursday games are on an astroturf pitch with floodlights. You will need to wear trainers/atros and not football boots. There are changing rooms and showers available.

The Sunday games are on grass in the park with proper goalposts and a coned off pitch. Footwear should be as applicable to the season (i.e. you might want some boots to slog through the mud in winter!). There aren't any changing facilities in the park unless you count the public loos!

How long do you play for?

The Thursday evening game usually lasts for an hour (since someone else has the pitch after us), whereas the park games can last anything up to 2 hours depending on when we get tired/in need of a pint. For those who want to stay and have a drink afterwards we go to the Edinboro Castle in Camden.

How many players are there a side?

This depends entirely on how many people turn up! Generally there's usually somewhere between 5 and 10 a side, i.e. 10 to 20 people altogether.

How do you pick the sides?

However many women who turn up are separated into two teams which are hopefully of roughly the same overall ability. One team wears bibs, the other not. Your bib is handed to you when the teams are organised and collected when you leave.

If one team turns out to be obviously much better than the other, players sometimes get changed over in mid-game to keep the game entertaining.

How are the teams organised?

Once you're allocated a team it's up to you where and how you play on the pitch. There is no formal team organisation. You may find it useful to discuss amongst yourselves how to line up but mostly people don't take it as seriously as that. You can basically put in as little or as much effort as you like.

What playing rules are there?

As mentioned it's a friendly kickabout and there's no ref, so no one's going to get upset over the odd accidental handball. In general we use our common sense. A few general rules:
  • Scoring from inside the area - this isn't allowed on the Thursday games since the goals are pretty big and it would be a bit too easy.
  • Playing area - on Sunday's this is the marked out area, on Thursday's it's the whole pitch apart from beyond the back line (i.e. we ignore the sidelines and play up to the fence)
  • Backpasses - we allow these, i.e. the keeper can pick it up if they want
  • Offside - we don't bother with this, if you want to goal hang then feel free though your team-mates may glare at you
  • Throw-Ins - Because the pitch is small in Chalk Farm we mostly ignore the side-lines so when the ball rebounds off the fence at the side (not the back ‘tho) it is still in play. (If it is bad weather and we have a particularly low turn-out we may use the side-lines for the game, so everyone gets a breather). If the ball gets lobbed over the fence the game restarts with a throw-in from roughly where it went out before going over the fence. A proper overhead throw-in should be taken – ie.ball starts from behind the head and comes over it, both feet should remain on the floor. Underarm throw-in’s are not allowed. Nor is kicking the ball back into play.
  • Tackling - Shoulder to shoulder challenges are allowed in football where both players are genuinely trying to play the ball, the ball is within playing distance and at an equal distance from both of them. Although they are allowed, please use your commonsense as Chalk Farm is an astroturf surface. Look at the player’s upper body strength compared to yours. If they are slightly built and you are not – the sensible thing would be to not go full on shoulder to shoulder if there is a risk of sending them flying. On the other hand if you know them to be a robust and experienced player of equal body strength and you can anticipate each other’s play enough to minimise the risk – fair enough. It may seem pretty obvious but please DO NOT attempt slide tackles on the pitch in Chalk Farm. It may be legal as a general rule on grass but on astroturf you're more likely to injure yourself than get the ball.
  • Keeping Score - We don't tend to keep score in the game and it usually ends when we've had enough and someone declares - "last goal wins!"
What's the age/skill range of players?

We have all standards of footballing ability from beginners upwards to very good players with all levels in between. It doesn't matter what level of skill you do or do not have - the emphasis of the events is about playing football in a friendly and sociable environment - whatever your level of skill. In terms of age the average is probably in the region mid-20s to late-30s, but we have players under 20 and over 40 too.

Do games go ahead in bad weather?

Generally, yes. We tend to play even if it is raining heavily, although if you personally don't want to continue you don't have to.

In the event of snow/ice it's probably best to check as we may have to cancel due to safety reasons (though we have been known to play in the snow with snowmen for goalposts!)

What should I wear?

There are no kit requirements. Most people play in shorts or tracksuit bottoms but people have turned up and played in jeans or ordinary trousers. I wouldn't recommend playing in jeans because you're likely to get too hot but if you want to, it's up to you.

In terms of footwear - either trainers or football boots are fine. We have had a few people playing in normal shoes and it's not really safe for either them or the other players. If you are likely to start playing regularly and the weather is wet or damp I would recommend investing in a pair of boots for the extra grip. You're less likely to slip that way. The less you slip, the more effective you'll be and the less chance there is that you'll accidentally injure yourself.

Do I need to bring anything else?

No, just your lovely self.

However, for the Sunday games at least two people are needed to carry the posts and other equipment from the Edinboro Castle in Camden to the park so it's good if as many people as possible come to the pub first. Any helpers should aim to be at the pub for 1.40pm. If you're coming to Camden tube to come to football anyway you only need to be a few extra minutes early to help with the posts - don't rely on other people to always do this otherwise you could turn up at the park one week and find there's nothing to play with!

Do you socialise outside games?

Absolutely! We go to the pub after most THursday and Sunday games for a pint or three and there are also ad hoc socials organised by different members of LLKA ranging from nights out clubbing to picnics in the park. None of these are obligatory. As with all things LLKA you can just attend when and if you fancy. Organisation of these events is by means of the mailing list so it's a good idea to get yourself on there once you start coming to the games.

Is it all serious?

Games are competitive but generally good-natured and fun. We don't usually keep track of the score and afterwards we usually like to go for a drink or two.

Is there any training?

We don't usually bother with any sort of training - we just get down to having a fun kickabout. Ocassionally if we're going to be playing a match we might have an odd training session before the normal game on a Sunday.

Is there any general etiquette for playing?

The game is a friendly kickabout so we ask that you:
  • Don't foul
  • Don't give players a hard time or criticise them if they're not as good as you are in terms of footballing ability
  • Remember that it's advertised as a friendly game for all-standards and take that into consideration on the pitch
  • Try and have a laugh
In the unlikely event that someone violates the rules and spirit of the game by being aggressive or offensive or critical of other people's play, it is important that you let us know so that we can deal with it in a confidential and hopefully effective manner. We don't want the games ruined by people being unpleasant but we can't be everywhere at once so we need feedback if anything is going wrong.

That being said, we have a very good record at fair play and sportsmanship to date. We don't tolerate people who don't abide by the friendly spirit of the games.

Is there anything I'm not allowed to do?

Players will get an automatic ban for the following :
  • Violence / aggressive / threatening play or actions
  • Persistent and deliberate fouling / cheating
  • (Applies to Camden pitch only where pitch contribution of £5 is payable) Intentionally leaving without payment of pitch contribution
  • Abuse of hospitality - this means using the event as a "poaching" opportunity, to encourage or solicit other players at the event to come and play for other teams
The reason the last of these is it not allowed is that considerable energy and resources are expended on keeping the events going. Yet on a couple of rare occassions in the past, some league teams tried unsuccessfully, to turn LLKA into a "feeder" club for their own benefit, ie. trying to "cherry pick" the better players and encourage them to play for other clubs, who play or train on the same days as we do. So to do so would mean those players could no longer attend the events. Sometimes clubs tried to solicit 7 or 8 players at any one time.

The rules now make it clear that league and other clubs players are welcome but only on the basis that they respect the event's independence. Any player of this type who is suspected of abusing the good-natured genorosity of the event by trying to shore up the dwindling stock of another team, will be automatically barred.

How many players have been barred from Kickabouts?

Only 2 since the event started in the summer of 1999, one for abuse of the event's hospitality (touting) and one for non-payment of pitch costs. The good spirit of the event means that it has not been necessary to bar anyone for persistent fouling, violence or threatening behaviour in all of that time.

What happens in the Changing Rooms?

LLKA is a genuine football event. What goes on in our changing room is no different from most other football changing rooms - male or female, straight or gay. We talk about lost shin-pads and what was on TV last night. We do not take communal showers and anyone expecting anything more spicy than bovril is liable to dissapointment.

Do you play in tournaments or matches against other team?

We play these now and again. If we do everyone is invited to join in regardless of skill and experience. We always try to include as many players as possible and will generally include all who show an interest (possibly involving having more than one team).

Some recent tournaments/matches we've been involved in:
  • 2011 - Friendly match against Cambridge's Sister Act
  • 2011 - Champion's Trophy
  • 2011 - Paris Arc-en-ciel tournament
  • 2012 - Cambridge Festival of Football
  • 2012 - Female Legends Tournaments
  • 2012 - Paris Arc-en-ciel tournament
  • 2013 - Paris Arc-en-ciel tournament
  • 2013 - IGLFA Euro 2013

Have you won anything?

Some of our recent results:
  • 2006 - Streetleague David Beckham Cup - winners
  • 2006 - Pink Paper Awards - Best Gay Sports Group - 3rd
  • 2007 - Lily Parr Trophy - winners
  • 2007 - Streetleague David Beckham Cup - winners
  • 2008 - Lily Parr Trophy - winners
  • 2009 - Lily Parr Trophy - winners
  • 2013 - IGLFA Euro 2013 - runners-up

Do you get involved in gay/sports campaigning?

Generally we're a fun social event which means we're not going to try and recruit you for Anarcist Lesbians Against Animal Testing. That said we do usually join in the annual Pride March in London, but as usual this is a purely optional thing/

How often do people injure themselves?

It's not a rough game. However, some people are not as lucky or robust as others. We recommend you warm up to avoid the risk of twisting or pulling ligaments in your legs. Although this is something we leave people to undertake themselves. There is no group warm-up exercise. Ask for advice on warming up when you arrive if you are unsure how to do so.

If you have pre-existing health conditions or are worried about your health you should consult a Doctor before playing. We recommend that if you feel that you are particularly unfit, that you take it easy when you play your first game. Only put in as much effort as you feel comfortable with. It's possible to enjoy the game without tearing round like your life depended on it. Most players in our games consider themselves unfit so no-one will expect you to be a top-class athlete.

On a legalistic note we ask you to take responsibility for your own health risks as we're have no funding for personal injury insurance or indeed anything else.

We're a friendly laid back lot but we would recommend that you don't drink alcohol before the game. You dehydrate very quickly during the game if you do and it could cause other health problems.

Do bring bottled water to drink during the game especially if the weather's hot.

We do recommend that you buy shin-pads, preferably with ankle guards. This is very important if you are going to be playing regularly. Nobody will be looking to kick you in the shins deliberately but anyone who plays football long enough will eventually get an accidental knock.

Some people are more accident prone than others and have existing weaknesses in their ligments through playing football or other sports. If you are one of those people go easy or consult a physiotherapist or doctor before playing. There are obvious things you shouldn't do if you are a beginner - don't head the ball wearing glasses for instance. You wouldn't believe how many people do this. If you wear glasses consider wearing contact lenses to play in. If your galsses get broken you could get glass in your eye or facial cuts so try to avoid wearing them if you can. If you can't and your glasses get broken accidentally, I'm afraid we can't afford to insure against accidents like this.

How do I get on the mailing list?

You need to come along to at least one Thursday or Sunday game first.

Once you have been once you can either give your email address to one of the web site admins or send an e-mail to llka.football@gmail.com. There are a few admins, just ask someone and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

If at any stage you do not wish to receive emails from this mailing list we will be happy to remove you.

What do I do next?

If you want to play - just turn up at the pitch. You don't have to let us know in advance.