In 2013, some 8,700 girls took part in FIFA’s Live Your Goals initiative at 51 festivals around the globe. As the campaign moves into 2014, FIFA’s ambition remains to inspire and encourage even more girls and young women to take up playing, gaining positive life skills and experience in the process.
Later in the year, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada will provide the perfect high-profile showcase for the joy and personal satisfaction football can provide.
An event-packed year for talented young players aiming to achieve their personal goals through football kicked off in Samoa and American Samoa in January. The programme for the month featured a number of festivals in each country.
Samoa: Youth league set for second season
The Football Federation Samoa (FFS) launched its programme on 11 January with a 'Soccer Sisters Festival'. The festivals provide proactive support for the women’s game with the primary objectives of growing and boosting active participation in the world’s favourite game.
“The Soccer Sisters Festivals have allowed us to increase the participation of women and girls in football and the result has been the development of a girls’ youth league which is about to kick off its second season,” commented FFS CEO Sarai Bareman after the highly successful events. "We will continue to run the festivals, for the benefit of football, but also for the girls and women in Samoa."
American Samoa: Festival fun and games
The focus was firmly on young female players in American Samoa too, where a team of coaches provided instruction in footballing skills and craft at a series of club and high school festivals. Eight high schools participated in the events, which offered a total of 212 participants aged between 14 and 18 the chance to work on their technique and tactics. At the club festivals on 20 and 25 January the coaches worked with the youngest players between the ages of five and 13.
"It is one of FIFA’s missions, especially that of President Joseph S. Blatter, that women’s soccer be developed and especially at an early age through programmess such as this," explained Football Federation American Samoa President Faiivae Iuli Alex Godinet at the opening ceremony for the high school festivals on 18 January. "Women are making strides in the world of soccer in all areas, from being players all the way to coaching and being administrators.” The next series of events is scheduled for February.