The Collingwood City Soccer Club girls soccer program is kicking goals for girls sport in Yarra with the announcement that they will be fielding two girls’ teams in the 2014 season.
The announcement follows a highly successful girls pilot program launched by the club earlier this year with the help of a Small Project Grant from the City of Yarra.
Junior’s coordinator, Sarah Iacono, said she was prompted to launch the program by her daughter, who, after years of watching her brothers play, was keen to have a team of her own.
“The first program we ran we had over 30 girls coming down, and since then we ran the term-four skills program and again we’ve had even more girls joining in,” Ms Iacono said.
Joanne Tyrrell, mother to six year-old twins Sophie and Abbey, said that her daughters thrived as part of the program and continue to pick up new skills each week.
“They truly love the game and going to training, and I think it will be hard to stop them moving into a team as they get older,” Ms Tyrrell said.
While many parents may not think of soccer as a first preference for their daughters, coaching director, Rick Wilson said he believes it can be enormously rewarding for them.
“Once the girls start to train they are often just as competitive as the boys,” Mr Wilson said.
“You often find the girls pick up the footwork drills quicker than the boys do initially, which in turn helps them in their early stages of playing soccer,” he said.
Ms Tyrrell agreed that parents should consider soccer as an option for their girls.
“I think it’s really important that each child, girl or boy, can try anything; I think there are no ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ sports – if you love it, you should do it,” she said.
Mr Wilson said he found soccer helped the girls develop socially, as well as physically.
“It’s about the social skills, mixing it up, taking them from this group and putting them into that one—once they get out there their differences don’t matter it’s just a group of girls who all want to play,” he said.
Ms Iacono said she found the program helped broaden the girls’ social circles.
“It is outside of the normal school activities, netball and basketball often begin as school teams, so you are still with school friends, but I think it is also healthy to have a group of friends outside of your school,” she said.
Ms Tyrrell said that she felt participating in the program had helped her daughters meet girls from other schools.
“They’ve made new friendships and learned to work as a team with girls they have never met before,” Ms Tyrrell said.
Ms Tyrrell said she would encourage girls and their families who were considering joining the program in 2014 to give it a go.
“The coaches are fabulous – they love their job, they know the game, they teach the kids the fundamentals of the game in a gradual, structured and personal way, and they make it their business to get to know the kids,” she said.