Over 150 girls between ages four and 18 took part in the Soccer Sisters Festival at the Federation Football Samoa (FFS) complex in Upolu earlier this month. 

The one-day event served as a fun introduction to football basics and small-sided games, with the purpose of encouraging girls to get active outdoors.  

It was held at the conclusion of FFS’s second three-day OFC Women’s Capacity Building Programme, which saw 30 administrators and players come together.  

Phase one of the course focussed on leadership and management development, with guest speakers including FFS CEO Aūtu Andy Ripley. Phase two was about applying the skills learned in a practical environment at the Soccer Sisters Festival.   

FFS Women’s Football Development Officer Angela Pauga, who led the programme, said the turnout exceeded her expectations.  

“Initially we expected a total of 50 girls. We also understood it would be difficult for girls to attend due to cultural barriers and responsibilities,” Pauga said. 

“During the workshop we encouraged our workshop attendees to bring at least 10 girls from their respective clubs and the turnout was amazing. 

“It showed us that initiatives like the Soccer Sisters Festival are needed for girls’ participation in football and now we’re looking at hosting more.”  

OFC Women’s Football Manager Emma Evans praised Samoa’s ongoing capacity building work.  

“This programme has provided local volunteers with confidence, knowledge and skills to begin their journey in football,” Evans said.  

“It was also fantastic to see the participants put the skills they learned during the workshop into practice with the football festival and for them to play a role in the day.”  

FFS are preparing to host their third OFC Women’s Football Capacity Building Programme in Savai’i later this year.