Although July was dominated by the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, with Germany ultimately crowned world champions, it was also an extremely eventful month for women’s football. A total of 18 Live Your Goals (LYG) festivals were held around the globe as part of FIFA’s campaign to get more girls and women interested in football, inspire them to play the game for themselves and gain positive experiences.
FIFA.com brings you a review of the campaign’s activities in July. Festivals were held in locations as diverse as the Republic of Ireland, Armenia and Canada, where young girls were given an opportunity to test their ball skills before the country hosts the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in August.
Republic of Ireland: U-19 women inspire a nation
In July, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) continued the Live Your Goals activities originally launched back in April, as players from the domestic league and national team took the opportunity to scout for fresh talent. Participants tried their hand at the sport under the watchful gaze of Claire Conlon, Rachel Graham, Niamh Reid-Burke and Ireland U-17 women’s coach Laura Cusack. Many of the girls taking part had never been in contact with a football before and will hopefully continue to play in future, whether at their local clubs or at school. The Irish U-19 team’s recent success in reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA European Women’s U-19 Championship has sparked interest among young fans now keen to follow in the footsteps of their new role models.
Armenia: FFA organises second festival
In mid-July, the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA) hosted its second festival of the Live Your Goals campaign. In the town of Armavir in south-west Armenia, instructors oversaw both matches and relay races as well as leading training exercises. Ambassadors of the sport shared their knowledge with the curious participants and presented their opinions and ideas on how girls could be inspired to take up the sport. Their suggestions appear to have been taken on board, as after the LYG festival many of the budding young footballers promised to be better prepared for the next event.
Canada: Three festivals in the run-up to FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
Canada will be in the spotlight in August, and not just for fans of women’s football. From 5 to 24 August, 16 teams will go head-to-head for the coveted FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2014 title – but the path to becoming a world champion is a difficult one, particularly at the outset. The LYG festival gives young girls the chance to take those first steps and emulate their idols. Three events took place in Canada in the run-up to this summer’s tournament: in Laval on 12 July, Moncton a week later and Edmonton on 27 July. Around 200 participants gave their all in Edmonton, helped by some of the country’s outstanding professional footballers including Brittany Baxter, who has already been capped 123 times for Canada. In Laval, the potential stars of tomorrow received advice from Josee Belanger and Rhian Wilkinson as well as Canadian U-20 hopefuls Vanessa Gregoire, Amandine Pierre-Louis and Valerie Sanderson.
In addition to the Live Your Goals campaigns already mentioned, events were also held in Grenada, New Caledonia, Bhutan, Papua New Guinea and Nicaragua.