Football Fern Paige Satchell cannot wait to give back to the women’s football community tomorrow when she takes part in the FIFA Live Your Goals Festival Launch in Auckland.
The 18-year-old, who was a travelling reserve at the Rio Olympic Games in August, is one of a number of New Zealand Football reps including Tessa Nicol, NZU17’s Captain Michaela Foster and fellow NZU17 players who are heading to the FIFA World Cup in Jordan, who are helping to launch the festival in style at QBE Stadium in Albany ahead of the NZ Women’s Knockout Final.
“It is really exciting and a great opportunity to give back to the community and help inspire our younger generation to potentially be Football Ferns in the future,” said Satchell.
Young female footballers will get the chance to show off their skills before watching their role models in action when Glenfield Rovers and Forrest Hill Milford United meet in the final. The NZ Women’s Knockout Cup Finalists are going to make an appearance at 10am to meet the girls involved before the final.
The festival features a girls’ 5-a-side tournament on the outer oval of the stadium in Albany and teams in the U-8, U-10 and U-12 categories are all invited to be involved. Those taking part will also get the chance to rub shoulders with members of the Football Ferns national team and age-group youth internationals, who will be on hand to answer questions and sign autographs.
Satchell can remember the days when she was a five-year-old girl in Rotorua beginning her career in football and senior players inspired her to get into the game.
“I remember the NTC programmes and we always had Ferns players and coaching staff come down and talk to us and they would inspire us to be like them to work hard and try and achieve that goal,” she said.
New Zealand Football Women’s Development Manager Holly Nixon is excited about the future of women’s football in this country and is pleased to be able to provide such an event on the back of the Football Ferns’ showing at Rio 2016, which saw the side compete well against some of the best teams in the world and earn a second-ever Olympic Games win with a 1-0 victory over Colombia.
“The FIFA Live Your Goals Week is a great opportunity to create awareness for girls and women’s football, and to ensure more females are playing and loving football,” she said.
“Since the inception of the Whole Of Football Plan, the participation rates in girls and women’s football have increased by 20 per cent, partly due to awareness campaigns such as this. We are continuously aiming to improve pathways and reduce barriers for girls and women to get involved in both football and futsal. This week is a great tool for girls and women to find information about how to get involved in summer football, as well as what clubs they can join.”
Satchell agreed and described football as an awesome experience for youngsters growing up in New Zealand.
“The opportunities that football has for women in New Zealand are amazing,” she said. “I played football when I was five years old and I have never stopped playing it. It is an awesome game and it is great to get all of the young females involved in it and they can go really far in it potentially. For me personally I grew up in Rotorua and it was hard for me to get recognised. But programmes like this FIFA Live Your Goals tour give young footballers the chance to get recognised by players and coaches and gets them more involved in the programmes in football. It is really exciting to have a chance to be involved and give back.”
A total of 72 FIFA member associations are implementing Live Your Goals across the globe with this country set to join the party for a week-long period from September 11 to 18.
The week’s activities will begin with the 5-a-side tournament at QBE Stadium before each of the seven federations run their own festivals and events to celebrate the women’s game.
The key objectives of the FIFA Live Your Goals campaign are to increase participation of women and girls in football, create opportunities for women’s football to thrive and ensure that football continues to be the number one female team sport around the world.
FIFA Live Your Goals Festival Launch
When: 9am – 11.30am, Sunday 11th of September
Where: QBE Stadium, Auckland
Who: Girls aged U8 – U12 years
Aim: Create awareness for girls and women’s football, and to ensure more females are playing and loving football