The Girls Football League wrapped up a productive season on Saturday. Attracting some 60 enthusiastic girls per week, the recreational league focused on fundamentals and fun. According to organiser Sue Greene, the effort paid off as demonstrated by obvious improvement in the girls’ play.
‘We wanted to teach them the basics of the game, self-esteem, and get them over being afraid of the ball,’ We mixed them based on zones-east, west and central. I’m really happy about how well they have done. They are hooked on it. At 11am [end of Saturday sessions] they don’t want to stop playing.
The Girls Football League caters to players ranging in age 4 1/2 to 12 years old. This league has filled a crucial gap, according to Greene.
‘Historically, here in Cayman, girls haven’t started playing football until they are 10 or 11 years old,’ she said. ‘That means you are missing a very important developmental age. We think it’s going to improve football overall by starting girls at a much younger age.’
Volunteer coach Shane Howe believes the league will be a significant benefit to local football by getting younger girls ready for the next level.
‘They also develop a deeper interest in the sport and learn about teamwork,’ he said. ‘It builds their confidence too. Many of these girls have made great leaps. They certainly are a lot more skilled now than they were a few months ago.’
George Hicks student Tiana Bodden, age 12, says the league has been loads of fun and she’s glad she signed up for it.
‘I’ve learned a lot about football here,’ said Bodden.
Kayla Anderson, also a George Hicks student, agrees.
‘This is great because we learn a lot about football. It makes us better players. It also makes us get up early in the morning and that’s good too.’
Hannah Howe, an 8 year-old student at Montessori By The Sea, was all smiles Saturday as she showed off her developing football skills.
‘This league is a lot of fun,’ she said. ‘And I’ve gotten a lot better by practicing.’
Greene says the League’s primary challenges are field space and finding sponsors. She also says there is no reason for parents to worry about safety as the league made it through all of their sessions this year without a single injury.
‘We also try to teach the girls responsibility by making them responsible for bringing their own equipment and doing homework we assignments,’ said Greene.
Homework, she explained, are various drills such as passing practice against a wall or dribbling.
‘We hope to keep growing and attract more girls in January,’ Greene added. ‘It’s been great for me, very rewarding.’
The fun is scheduled to resume in January. The Caymanian Compass will publish notices prior to the first session.