New Zealand women’s football heroes were as excited as their young fans when they met at yesterday’s festival, marking the beginning of New Zealand’s FIFA Live Your Goals week, at QBE Stadium in Auckland.
Young female footballers got the chance to show off their skills in a 5-a-side tournament before rubbing shoulders with members of the Football Ferns national team and age-group youth internationals, who answered questions and signed autographs for the participants.
New Zealand Football Fern Paige Satchell was proud to join her fellow New Zealand teammates at the festival launch and felt inspired by the young participants chasing the same Football Fern dream.
“It is really exciting and a great opportunity to give back to the community and help inspire our younger generation to potentially be Football Ferns in the future,” she said.
After the positive effect they had in kick-starting her own football career, Satchell believes training programmes and role models are crucial for developing young female footballers.
“I remember we always had Ferns players and coaching staff come down and talk to us and they would inspire us to be like them to work hard and try and achieve that goal,” she said.
“I played football when I was five years old and I have never stopped playing it. It is an awesome game and it is great to get all of the young females involved in it and they can go really far in it potentially,” she added.
“Programmes like this FIFA Live Your Goals tour give young footballers the chance to get recognised by players and coaches and gets them more involved in the programmes in football.”
New Zealand Football Women’s Development Manager Holly Nixon hopes the Live Your Goals festival will help open new doors for young female athletes and contribute to the growing New Zealand female football community.
“The FIFA Live Your Goals Week is a great opportunity to create awareness for girls and women’s football, and to ensure more females are playing and loving football,” she said.
“We are continuously aiming to improve pathways and reduce barriers for girls and women to get involved in both football and futsal. This week is a great tool for girls and women to find information about how to get involved in summer football, as well as what clubs they can join,” she added.
A total of 72 FIFA member associations are implementing Live Your Goals across the globe with New Zealand joining the party for a week-long period from September 11 to 18.
The key objectives of the FIFA Live Your Goals campaign are to increase participation of women and girls in football, create opportunities for women’s football to thrive and ensure that football continues to be the number one female team sport around the world.