Budding young female footballers are being urged to get in now to avoid missing out on the fun of the FIFA Live Your Goals Week, which takes place across the country from September 11 to 18.
The aim of the week is to inspire more girls and women to play the beautiful game and kicks off with a 5-a-side tournament for juniors at QBE Stadium on September 11 – the same day both the Women’s Knockout Cup and Chatham Cup finals are set to be held.
The teams taking part in the big game are local rivals Glenfield Rovers – chasing their third title in a row – and Forrest Hill-Milford United with those competing in the 5-a-side tournament in the morning getting the chance to watch their role models in action from 12pm.
Football Ferns national team members and youth internationals will also be hand throughout the morning to answer questions and sign autographs so there is every reason for young players from across the Auckland region to want to be involved.
New Zealand Football Women’s Development Manager Holly Nixon says places are filling up fast though so those hoping to take part should register as soon as possible.
“There are three age-group divisions available – U-8, U-10 and U-12 – and you have the option of registering as a full team or as an individual to be put into a team,” she says.
“This is a great opportunity for girls to continue their season by taking part in a fun tournament and the chance to get so close to their heroes is a rare one. It’s important for our Football Ferns and elite club players to be visible as they can be hugely inspirational to the next generation of players coming through.”
Those who don’t live in the upper North Island will not be missing out on the fun of the FIFA Live Your Goals Week though with each of New Zealand Football’s seven federations hosting a range of activities and events to mark the occasion.
There is a packed schedule in the Northern Football region with highlights including numerous football festivals in local schools, an ethnic tournament and a futsal showcase, as well as female-only referee and coaching courses.
Across the bridge, Auckland Football are offering female-only coaching and refereeing experiences and are likewise running school festivals and a futsal event.
WaiBOP Football have a similar schedule in the offing but also have a point of difference in providing a course in FIFA 11+, the international body’s injury prevention programme.
In the lower half of the island, Central Football and Capital Football are also laying on a variety of school-based events, festivals and female-only opportunities while it is the same story in the South Island.
As well as the festivals, courses and school activities, Mainland Football are running a ‘Have a Go Day’, a social seven’s tournament for adults – where prizes will be on offer for the winners and best-dressed team – and the Pride Festival, which provides the chance to meet and learn from members of the region’s national league team.
Those taking part in the fun down south will be lucky enough to strut their skills in a world-class venue with Football South having secured Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium for a feast of football on September 18. Festivals and a coaching course will take place during the week before the action wraps up on Sunday at the stadium, girls from U-5 to U-14 playing four-vs-four games in each age-group throughout the day before a Mums and Daughters Festival in late afternoon.
“The Girls and Women’s Development Officers in each federation have put in a lot of work to make sure a wide range of activities will be on offer throughout the week and I can’t wait for it to begin,” Nixon says.
“Female football has made huge strides in recent years with participation levels rising by 20 per cent since the inception of the Whole of Football Plan. If the FIFA Live Your Goals Week can drive this growth further and perhaps inspire a few Football Ferns of the future then it will have been a big success.”
For further information on the FIFA Live Your Goals campaign and to find out more about what is happening in each federation please click here
To register for the Girls 5-a-side Football Festival (registrations close on September 9) please click here