Women’s football fostering integration in Israel

Women’s football took centre stage in Israel this week with a three-day FIFA coaching course that concluded on Friday, 25 January, at the national team training centre in Shefayim.

40 coaches from across the country joined FIFA instructor Marta Tejedor for the intensive programme covering a variety of key matters such as coaching female players, team tactical organisation, and recovery and injury prevention.

“Every country represents a new challenge in terms of women’s football development,” commented Tejedor. “I have previously done courses in Equatorial Guinea and Russia, where players and coaches face a different kind of environment. All in all it’s difficult to compare, though in all countries I have been to I have sensed a great deal of commitment, passion and gratitude from all parties. I’m greatly impressed by the talent of young Israeli players. Overall women’s football stands for more than sports. Here in Israel, Muslim and Jewish girls play together, and several girls of Palestine origin play for Israel’s women’s national teams, particularly at U-16 level.”

Since 2009, FIFA has organised four women’s football projects in Israel, including a general course (2009), a promotional seminar (2010), a girls’ festival with 300 participants at the Ramat Gan National Stadium (2012) and a coaching programme (2013).

Following the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011, the world’s football governing body launched new programmes and guidelines for women's football development in 2012. While promoting the education of women’s football coaches and inviting former female players to join the courses, the main objectives of the new initiatives are to increase grassroots participation for girls and to further develop women's football leagues around the world.

"We are very excited. This is the first time FIFA organises such a big women’s football event in Israel and we are convinced that it will help our Israeli coaches in their daily activities,” explained Sharon Zeevi, head of Israel Football Association’s women’s football department. “In addition to the course itself, the programme enabled us to collect new data and share knowledge among all participants. We are very thankful for this opportunity and look forward to hosting some more courses in the near future.”

Israel and the British Virgin Islands, where a five-day programme led by FIFA instructor Andrea Rodebaugh concludes on 26 January, have become the first countries to host FIFA women’s football courses in 2013. Worldwide, more than 40 FIFA women’s football courses are expected to take place this year according to FIFA Women’s Football Development Manager Mayrilian Cruz-Blanco.

“We aim at creating synergies with our member associations in order to foster female players’ development and increase the number of girls and women who practice our sport,” said Cruz-Blanco. “As all member associations have different kinds of priorities, we need to adapt our programmes in order to provide them with tailor-made assistance.”

According to FIFA figures, 29 million girls and women play football across the globe.