AN 11-year-old footballer says she is determined to continue attracting support for her equality in football campaign after hosting her first tournament.

Leyla Priest began her Genders Unite campaign in a bid to show girls deserve as much respect as boys when it comes to playing the beautiful game.

She decided to set it up after speaking out about being picked on by boys and girls for enjoying playing the sport.

The Hatfield Peverel youngster even found some of her teammates would refuse to pass to her in training sessions because she is a girl.

Football Association guidelines state boys and girls can play together until they are 18.

Leyla’s mum Becky said: “She started to really get into her football after watching the World Cup last year and she began playing but she started to be bullied by two girls at school for it.

“When you’re 11 years old the little things seem massive but these two girls were still saying things to her like ‘you’re only playing with the boys because you fancy them’ or ‘you want to be a boy’.

“Then when she was playing, she was the only girl on her team and the boys were just refusing to pass to her.

“She could be standing in the box, calling for the ball, ready to score but they would pass to another boy and lose the ball.”

After appearing on radio to talk about her experiences during a discussion about the FA’s Girls’ Football Week, Leyla was invited to lead out the Manchester City women’s team as a mascot ahead of an FA Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea in April.

Following that she set up her campaign Genders Unite, which has gone from strength to strength, and on Sunday she hosted her first tournament, which saw more than 100 boys and girls take to the pitch together at Hatfield Peverel Football Club.

Following the tournament the Women’s World Cup final between the United States and the Netherlands was shown at the club.

Becky said: “It went really well. Quite often at children’s football matches you’ll see parents shouting and things getting a bit lively, but the atmosphere on Sunday was really nice.

“Going forward she wants to get into primary schools and host the tournament again next year and maybe look to take it elsewhere too. She wants to be that person who, if somebody is struggling to find a club, they can go to her and she will help them.”