Women’s football development continues to grow

The FIFA Live Your Goals programme is another sign that Australian women’s football development is heading in the right direction according to Matildas past and present.

The inaugural FIFA Live Your Goals festival – a programme which aims to create awareness and develop football for girls – will be held in Sydney at Valentine Sports Park on Saturday featuring young female players of all ages.

The festival follows on last month’s announcement of a FIFA Goal Project – the first in the world dedicated purely to women’s football.

Australia full-back Steph Catley who, along with fellow Matildas Lisa De Vanna and Elise Kellond-Knight will be on hand for tomorrow’s festival, says it is yet another sign of the growth in the women’s game across all levels.

“These type of events are massively importantly,” Catley said. “To have an all-girls festival is just incredible. It gives girls so many opportunities and gives them the confidence to know they are supported.

“When I first started playing I had to prove myself against the boys, which had its benefits. But there was a part of me that just wanted to play with girls and be with my friends and enjoy football that way.”

Female players now number well over 100,000 Australia-wide, a massive leap from decades past and a figure that continues to grow exponentially.

Moya Dodd former Matilda, current FFA Board Member, as well as FIFA Executive Committee member and FIFA Task Force for Women’s Football Chairwoman, says FIFA are focussed on the growth of women’s football.

“FIFA has rolled out the programme around the world,” Dodd said. “This programme connects grassroots participants with those at the very top of their game. It also provides role models and at the same time is bringing through those that are the future of the game. 

“Increasing participation for women and girls is a huge priority for FIFA. Why? Because it represents a huge opportunity for the future growth of the game, but also because it contributes to the greater social benefits that women’s participation provides not only in sport, but in society.

“The programme puts role models in front of the girls of today. That helps them aspire to the level that is now open to them. When I was a kid I can only remember two female athletes; Raelene Boyle and Evonne Goolagong. Now there has been a huge transformation (in the quantity of role models) and in the decades to come we will see the real benefit of that.”

The FIFA Live Your Goals campaign was launched at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™, and since then it has evolved into one of FIFA’s most recognised initiatives in women’s football.

Following a pilot phase in 2012-2013, FIFA made Live Your Goals available to member associations, as part of its support for women’s football development as well as to ensure that the campaign has a worldwide impact.