Increasing numbers of girls around the world are now playing football, eager to follow in the footsteps of their idols, many of whom are no doubt on the shortlist to be named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year 2013. The objective of FIFA’s Live Your Goals campaign is to encourage more young girls and women across the globe to play football and to enjoy the positive experiences the game can bring. looks back on the latest developments in September and October, focusing on festivals in Republic of Ireland and Samoa.

Republic of Ireland: A festival with stars
Two years ago the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) coordinated the Live Your Goals programme with the aim of promoting women’s football as a legitimate and attractive component of a modern lifestyle. In September a Live Your Goals festival took place in Athenry, Galway, at which local clubs were invited to participate. Alongside the wide range of activities on offer, the young girls had the chance to meet some of the FC Galway players currently lacing their boots in the country’s Bus Eireann Women's National League, which they only recently joined. "This is our second year running the programme and we've had huge success with it,” said women's national coordinator Ger Dunne on the FAI website ahead of the festival. “It's fantastic that Galway WFC have now joined our national league. These players are now the role models for all young girls across the county. It's an opportunity for local girls to progress from their local club right through to the highest club level and who knows, maybe even go on to represent Ireland."

Samoa: The power of football
The Football Federation Samoa (FFS) has been active in encouraging women’s football participation through its monthly Soccer Sister’s Festivals. Increasing active involvement in, and supporting the growth of the women’s game are the primary drivers of the programme. FFS held the first ever Soccer Sisters Festival in 2012 and after just three events it was able to kick off its first ever Girls Youth League, which is now in its second season. The festival in October was used as a tool to educate the participants about breast cancer and its causes, as well as the fight against the illness. “We are in the month of breast cancer awareness; therefore it’s an excellent way for us to promote women’s football and work together to promote cancer awareness through health and fitness activities,” said FFS Women’s Football Development Officer Lynette Faaiuaso. The festival was a special occasion and once again demonstrated football’s power as more than just a sport.

Further festivals
Over the last two months, FIFA has been active in taking its Live Your Goals campaign to many other countries too. In September, festivals were organised in Madagascar, Latvia, and East Timor, while events were held in Costa Rica, Oman, Jamaica, Grenada and Vanuatu in October.