New Zealand Football is excited to build on the growth of the women’s game in this country with the launch of the FIFA Live Your Goals week.
The nationwide festival has moved to the beginning of the year to coincide with the registration window for winter football and encourage girls and women to ‘Get In’ to football.
In 2016, New Zealand reached more than 9000 females through the FIFA Live Your Goals week and ran over 100 festivals nationwide.
Holly Nixon, the New Zealand Football Women’s Development Manager, said it is an important week on the women’s football calendar.
“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.
Since the inception of the award-winning Whole of Football Plan, women’s affiliated player numbers have grown 30 percent, 52 percent of girls participate in football and women were a key growth area in futsal in 2016.
The FIFA Live Your Goals week is combining with other New Zealand Football initiatives – which include the Fit4Football and McDonald’s Junior Football roadshows – which are all part of the governing body’s campaign to encourage more New Zealanders to ‘Get In’ to Football. The opening events are on this weekend in Nelson and Christchurch.
“Campaigns like the FIFA Live Your Goals week are so important for continuing the momentum in the women’s game,” said Nixon. “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 winter football, as well as what clubs they can join.”
The FIFA Live Your Goals week is encouraging more players, referees, coaches and administrators to drive the women’s game. It is at the same time as the Futsal Women’s National Championship from 24-26 February in Wellington and also coincides with the Football Ferns upcoming fixtures at the Cyprus Cup.
Tony Readings’ team, who last July defeated Colombia for their second-ever win at an Olympic Games, have played a huge role in inspiring the next generation of women to play football as they reached their highest-ever world ranking of No 16.
Paige Satchell, who was called up for her first Football Ferns tour as part of the regular squad, encouraged young women to sign up for the FIFA Live Your Goals week. She described football as an awesome experience for youngsters growing up in New Zealand and there were plenty of opportunities on the world stage – like scholarships to international universities, professional leagues, representing New Zealand at FIFA World Cups and Olympic Games.
“The opportunities that football has for women in New Zealand are amazing,” 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.
“For me personally I grew up in Rotorua and it was hard for me to get recognised. But programmes like this FIFA Live Your Goals week give young footballers the chance to get recognised by players and coaches and gets them more involved in the programmes in football.”
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 No 1 female team sport around the world.
FIFA Live Your Goals Festival Launch
When: 18 – 26 February
Where: Nationwide, check out Federation websites to find out what is happening in your region
Aim: Create awareness for girls and women’s football, and to ensure more females are playing and loving football