St Lawrence FC have launched an exciting Girls Academy with two brilliant taster sessions, with another to come at Springfield Stadium tomorrow morning with many youngsters enjoying kicking the ball around with new friends.
Dan Andrade caught up with Girls Academy Director Lora Riley about the clubs new scheme and what the future plans are beyond the taster sessions.
When did the idea of creating a girls academy at St Lawrence first come about?
It has been in my mind for a while now. I used to work at the centre of excellence and saw girls who didn’t make it stop football altogether. Gradually over the last 15 years or so there has been a lot less girls signing on for women’s football and teams have dropped dramatically. We want to help girls come through and develop into the senior level so it has been on the horizon for a while now. At St Lawrence the boys academy is the biggest on the island and is thriving so we want to add to that with the girls academy.
How key is it that current players are here coaching?
They will be vital. For the girls to look up to the current players as role models, wanting to be like them and play like them, it is great. The current players want to help develop the girls into good footballers and it is really encouraging. As a team we don’t really have many younger players and are an experienced side, so an injection of youth for the future is key. We have come through as youngsters ourselves so we want to help others to do that now.
How good is it to see other clubs form girls academy’s as well?
I would encourage every women’s team to develop a girls team. I know Rozel are already doing a brilliant job, Wanderers too. I would encourage Grouville to do so and I know Portuguese United are new so maybe in a few years they could do the same. Even teams who don’t currently have a women’s team, I would say develop a platform for girls to play and in time that will develop into a senior side, resulting with more teams in the league. It is fantastic to see the amount of work being put into girls development and we will look to work with the likes of GS United, Rozel and Wanderers to provide game time for the girls to play and enjoy their football.
How have the taster sessions gone so far?
They have been brilliant! We have had a range of kids with all different abilities which is great. Some had never played football before and some had been playing for a few years so their talent was really impressive. This Saturday coming we have actually had to open it to a younger age group because we had so many kids on the waiting list which is so good to see. We are focusing on getting as many girls playing, as much as possible too. From these taster sessions we will organise age groups and develop them as a team before going to play against other girls development sides. We want to help the girls play football, have fun and meet loads of new friends in the process.