November proved to be yet another massive month for FIFA’s increasingly popular Live Your Goals programme with no fewer than 13 countries hosting events, including half a dozen in the past week alone.
Live Your Goals, which was launched in 2011 prior to the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in Germany, was developed to connect more young girls and women with football, and create positive experiences and interaction with the game. This typically involves connecting young female players with the game through on-field activities.
Football’s appeal to young females was in evidence in Lithuania as over 300 girls attended the first stage of FIFA‘s Live Your Goals campaign, ahead of further events to be held by the end of the year. Girls aged 7-14 were in attendance where sporting activities and introductory courses were conducted, with fun and togetherness the overarching values.
Lithuania national team coach Rimantas Viktoravicius and defender Vestina Neverdauskaite – an ambassador of the project in Lithuania – were among those in attendance to inspire the girls and provide guidance.
“The girls actively participated and listened,” told Neverdauskaite. “I have great affection for football so it was a pleasure to participate, and I hope I can spread the game further among girls.”
The Lithuanian Football Federation is actively seeking to encourage greater participation in women’s football, and their long-term goals will be crowned with the hosting of the UEFA U-17 Championship in 2018.
The traditional football hotbed that is Soweto in Johannesburg was the latest location to assist the South African Football Association with their aim of promoting football to a young female audience via the Live Your Goals programme.
Over 200 girls from ten schools – all currently playing football in Johannesburg - participated in the event held on Saturday 21 November. In addition to the impressive player turnout, 24 coaches were on hand to put the girls through their paces, teaching them basic ball handling, heading, small-sided games and warm-up exercises.
“The girls, who are generally 12 years old, will be the base and feeder into our local federations and schools’ U-13 leagues,” said Fran Hilton-Smith, SAFA Assistant Technical Director for Women’s Football. “They will also spread the interest in schools for girls to play football as they really had a wonderful day.”
*Jordan *Karak was the latest location to enjoy a massive boost in the lead-up to next year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan. A week-long festival featured 144 participants and follows previous events in Amman, Zarqa and Irbid, providing a small taste of what is to come when Jordan hosts next year’s tournament during September and October.
“It is time for women’s football to receive the attention it deserves,” said Tasneem Abu Al Rob, a member of the Jordan U-17 team and a Live Your Goals festival ambassador. “We are eagerly looking forward to the long-term positive impact of hosting a World Cup tournament here next year, paving the way for the empowerment of women in general and the development of women’s football in Jordan in particular.”
*Other activities *
Among other Member Associations to play host to Live Your Goals events during November were St. Kitts and Nevis, Wales, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Tahiti, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Tanzania.