- More registered players thanks to the recruitment programme**
- *Clubs have the full support of the Czech Republic FA*
"We need to let children know that football is for everyone" * *
Everybody has to start somewhere and world-class players, such as Carli Lloyd, Marta and Dzsenifer Marozsan, are no different. At some point they all kicked a ball for the first time ever, discovered their love for the beautiful game and continually nurtured their talent.
That is what drives the Czech Republic Football Association's (FACR) aim to raise awareness about women's football and to promote the game. They do this through recruitment programmes, arousing interest in football and increasing the number of active players.
*About the programme:*
- The FACR grassroots department created the 'Month of Recruitment' project
- The governing body provides material and funding
- The FACR also cooperates with clubs and offers its full support
- Clubs are the most important factor in increasing the number of women players
- Clubs contact schools and kindergartens in order to widen the reach as far as possible
"This project only takes place in May and September and we've noticed a great increase in the number of registered players within these two months," said Nikola Muzikova, who works in the department of development for women's football at the Czech FA. "Of the seven clubs that held this recruitment project in May, two created new girls' teams they did not have before and the rest recruited more girls to play football. The feedback has been great this year. Hopefully it'll continue in the future and we can create as many new teams as possible. We need to let the children know that football is for everyone."
The foundations for a successful future in women's football have therefore been laid. Yet the road to the very top is far from easy, as Muzikova is well aware: "I think we are still struggling a little with awareness and perception of women's football in our country. I believe that good promotion is key. Of course I know that's not all it's about. On the other hand, the main sporting aspect would be to create academies for the best players to enhance and develop the elite youth system. Success is very important. We know that people follow success. That's why creating strong national teams through these academies should be a priority as well."
It is hard to argue with that. Czech Republic are currently in 36th place in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking. They are yet to participate at a major international tournament, but small steps can also lead to success.
*"The main change started last year with the preparations for hosting the UEFA Women's U-17 European Championship," Muzikova said. "The whole association became more open to women's football as everyone wanted to succeed. We had great support and the stadiums were sold out for our games. That was a great step towards a better future for women's football in the Czech Republic."