FIFA Live Your Goals programme was a hive of activity all over the globe throughout October. Live Your Goals was developed to connect more young girls and women in football and create positive experiences. And a growing number of culturally diverse nations are engaging with the programme, as evidenced by the past month where some 15 nations hosted events.
The legacy from the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup continues in Azerbaijan with the eastern European nation on the Caspian Sea successfully hosting another Live Your Goals event with over 100 young participants. The latest was held in Gabala city, with national youth team players providing guidance, while national youth team coach Patricia Gonzalez also leant her expertise. Not only did the players have some fun and learn more about the game, but some of the female coaches in attendance had the opportunity for personal development by putting into practice skills learned on a recent UEFA B Licence course.
The Mediterranean nation of Malta have been working hard in recent years in developing women’s football, and their most notable achievement of late was a major Live Your Goals event on the island Gozo. Over 100 young participants aged between 5-11 were on hand, many of whom experienced football for the first time. The Malta FA also distributed balls and other equipment in a bid to help the local FA with their retention mission.
The remote northern Pacific island nation of Guam has been making waves across all aspects of football recently, headlined by their incredible 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying form. So too, women’s football has been a massive focus, with the dividends clear to see. Nearly 200 girls age 6-12 participated in an afternoon of fun recently, helped in part by members of the Mini Masakada (Guam U-14 girls national team). Not even an afternoon downpour could wipe away the smiles, with the high-quality artificial surface at the Guam FA National Training Center easily coping with the many wet feet.
Australia’s remote north had a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with national team stars Lisa De Vanna and Lydia Williams when the first Live Your Goals festival was held in Darwin. Over 200 young fans of the game were present in Darwin, a city which has a notable indigenous population making Williams’ presence especially poignant, being one of two current Aboriginal players in the Matildas squad, along with Kyah Simon.
There were numerous other successful festivals, perhaps none more notable than in Estonia which hosted over 500 young female footballers in five cities. There were also events in nations as diverse as Spain, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Congo, Bhutan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Laos, Jamaica and South Africa.