September was an extremely busy month in women’s football, with not only FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ qualifiers on the agenda but also several exciting Live Your Goals events. FIFA launched the campaign to get more young girls and women interested in football and inspire them to get involved and create positive experiences.
FIFA.com takes a look back at the initiative’s activities in September, when numerous festivals were held around the globe and new projects launched in Australia, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Curacao and Latvia.
Australia: *Matildas meet the next generation *
Despite the overcast skies, more than 100 young girls took part in the first Live Your Goals festival Down Under. In Sydney the youngsters got a chance to improve their skills, play on small pitches and meet some of Australia’s top players. Aussie internationals and LYG ambassadors Elise Kellond-Knight, Lisa De Vanna and Steph Catley were on hand to offer practical advice to the young attendees and were more than happy to act as role models for these budding athletes. “It was really good fun, but it was also great to see so many girls out playing despite the weather,” Kellond-Knight said. “When I was young, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to a women’s football event like this.”
Armenia: Waiting impatiently for kick-off* *On 10 September, a range of LYG activities took place in Hrasdan, capital of the Armenian province of Kotajk. Talented youngsters between the ages of four and 14 from schools across the region could hardly wait to get started, and the fact that this was the country’s first footballing event aimed exclusively at girls was just another excuse for the speedy youngsters to show off their skills. Ball games, relay races and a “Bon-Bon Cup” were just some of the activities on offer for the girls to try out and enjoy.
It was clear that the festival had been a complete success as the event drew to a close, with many of the girls professing to a new interest in football and peppering the U-16 women’s national team coach with questions. There is no doubt that the event fulfilled the LYG campaign’s aim to get more young girls and women interested in football and inspire them to get involved! Live Your Goals proves that dreams really can come true no matter what obstacles crop up along the way.
Panama: Ushering in a new era* *
FIFA’s LYG campaign was launched in Panama with more than 200 girls taking part. The first festival was organised by Professor Ezequiel Fernandez, who heads the technical development department of Panama’s football association, FEPAFUT. The association’s president, Pedro Chaluja, also made sure to drop by and seemed delighted by the festival, which was attended by promising young players from educational institutions across Panama City. A second event was held in La Chorrera on 20 September.
Kyrgyzstan: Promoting women’s football through play* *
On 22 September, the country that borders Kazakhstan to the north and north-east, Uzbekistan to the west and north-west, Tajikistan to the south and south-west and China to the south and south-east kicked off its LYG activities. The nation’s U-19 women’s national team and coaches helped the girls to take their first tentative steps with a ball at their feet. They shared some basic knowledge with the enthusiastic attendees, laying a foundation for further activities designed to promote women’s football in Kyrgyzstan.
Curacao: LYG gets off to a flying start* *The first LYG festival in Curacao was a resounding success. More than 235 girls under 13 years of age signed up for the event through their schools and were transported safely to the venue in Brievengat by bus. Jean Francisca, president of the national football federation, the FFK, welcomed the participants personally and thanked FIFA for its confidence and support. After an unusual Zumba-based warm-up programme, the girls worked their way through six different competitive stations all devoted to the beautiful game. The FFK is implementing a long-term development plan for women’s football and the LYG festivals offer a fantastic opportunity to introduce more and more young girls to the sport.
Other festivals* *In addition to the events listed above, festivals were also held in Montserrat, Croatia, Moldova, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Northern Ireland.