On Monday, Baku hosted the last in a series of Live Your Goals festivals which have been taking place over the last few months in the Zagatala, Quba, Sheki, and Masalli regions of Azerbaijan.
The FIFA campaign "Live Your Goals" is part of the legacy of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Azerbaijan 2012 which kicks-off in four days time.
Present at the event at the newly reconstructed Bayil stadium were FIFA and AFFA representatives including the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee Elkhan Mammadov, FIFA Director for Member Associations and Development Thierry Regenass, FIFA's Head of Women's Competitions Tatjana Haenni, FIFA Ambassador for Women's Football Steffi Jones, captain of Costa Rica Shirley Cruz and Azerbaijan skipper Amina Heydarova.
The event started with a press conference followed by a performance from singer Chingiz Mustafaev and a dance group to kick-off the festival. After that 150 girls from the region had the chance to test their football skills, guided along the way by football coaches.
"I would like to congratulate the AFFA for holding this event," said Regenass. "Live Your Goals will leave a legacy in Azerbaijan. The target is to continue increasing the quantity of women involved in women's football as well as the quality of women's players in the future. Leagues are very important for the development of girls’ football."
With Live Your Goals, FIFA is aiming to use the popularity of FIFA women's tournaments as a catalyst to encourage young women and girls to participate in the sport. The campaign highlights the many different benefits which active participation in football brings, ranging from making friends, learning about teamwork and being physically active to coping with challenging situations, emotions and success.
“Young girls’ dreams are coming true, and they are getting a stronger say in society by getting involved in women’s football,” said Jones in a post-event press conference. “Women’s football is more than getting into a national football team.”
“Live Your Goals and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup highlights the fact that women’s football not only exists but is continually developing,” added Haenni. “Girls are eager and have chance to play football and we want them to have that chance.”