Saturday morning sessions for young girls interested in learning to play football will become a weekly fixture.
About 20 children turned out Saturday for an event aimed at increasing participation among girls younger than 9. Organisers hope the mini-tournament, put on by the Cayman Islands Department of Sports to coincide with Honouring Women’s Month, will be the start of a regular programme for girls in younger age groups.
Martha Godet, chairwoman of Cayman Islands Football Association women’s committee, said: “We wanted the young girls to come out and have some fun. The plan is now to continue every Saturday morning with the younger ones coming out playing some games, doing some drills and just having fun.
“We had about 20 girls out for this event,” she added. “We’re hoping to have a few more in the future. We want to encourage the schools to speak to their children and encourage them to come out and play.”
Simone Campbell-Chin, a teacher and sports coordinator at Bodden Town Primary School, was out helping with coaching on Saturday. She said it was important to get girls involved in the sport early.
“This was a very positive move in terms of the development of young girls in football,” she said. “I think it is good for kids to start young. If you develop the fundamentals early you will be a much better player as you get older.
“We had some very promising talent out there,” she added. “There are some young ones already training with the under-13 national team and I was impressed with them. I thought the really young ones came out and had fun and had a good attitude as well.”
Event organiser Merta Day, the department’s sports coordinator for women, said she was a little disappointed with the turn out, but said she hoped the event will be a springboard for an expanded girls programme.
“We were hoping for a few more girls, but the objective was to increase awareness of the potential for girls to play at this age and I think we did that,” Day said. “We’ve got a start and we can take it from here. The department of sports is happy to do anything to help organisations increase awareness and participation.”
Among the youngsters playing on Saturday were a few older children, including a rising star of the girls’ soccer scene in Cayman.
Brianna Poy-Fong, 11, hopes to go all the way to the professional game.
She said: “I’ve trained with the national team and one of my team-mates plays professional football in Zurich. I’d love to do that. A lot of my family played football, so I started to watch it a lot and when they started a girls team at my primary school I started to play.
“It’s a fun sport,” she added. “It helps with fitness and you get to do a lot of fun stuff. My coach always tells me you have to work hard to go places and always have good sportsmanship.”
For more information on girls football, contact Martha Godet at 916-1394.