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Dower takes up key role at FFA

FFA have announced Junior Matildas coach Rae Dower has extended her contract and will also assume the role of Women’s Technical Advisor.

Dower’s contract will run till the end of 2022, after leading the Junior Matildas since 2017.

In her new position, Dower will work closely with FFA’s interim Technical Director, Trever Morgan, to help nurture the next generation of female footballers in the country.

FFA CEO James Johnson said in a statement: “Rae’s knowledge of and passion for women’s football in Australia is undeniable, and with her strong network and connections in the sport we’re confident she will help us make improvements to the women’s pathway,” he said.

“Women’s Football is central to the future growth and development of Australian football and we are proud to be creating an environment which is supportive of women entering senior administrative roles in football. Rae’s continuation as Westfield Junior Matildas Head Coach, in addition to her expanded scope as Women’s Technical Advisor, is a step we are taking directly in pursuit of the key measures proposed in Principle Ten of the XI Principles for the future of Australian football.

“As a former player, Westfield W-League Head Coach, and an experienced Coach Educator, Rae is well equipped to help FFA develop its women’s and girls’ competition structures, talent identification processes, and through her advocacy and advice, help the game grow its female player pool.”

Dower claimed she was looking forward to the challenges ahead.

“This new dual role with FFA provides me with a great platform to continue to contribute to Australia’s female player pathway and processes and provide advice to Trevor (Morgan) and James (Johnson) regarding possible improvements we can make with the ultimate aim of fulfilling the vision outlined in the XI Principles,” she said in a statement.

“It’s a truly exciting time to be involved in women’s football in Australia and globally, with rapid growth in many areas of the sport currently being witnessed. Young girls and women have never had a better opportunity to develop a career in football, but there is much more that can be done to ensure our best young talents have every chance possible to progress from their grassroots club to the Westfield W-League and Westfield Matildas.”

 

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

New Zealand Football and Good Sports to promote positive youth sporting culture

Good Sports

New Zealand’s national governing football body, New Zealand Football, has teamed up with Good Sports to create positive sporting experiences for children by educating and supporting parents and other adult influencers in youth sport.

A further 15 national and regional sport organisations have signed up to Good Sports, which is an initiative developed by Aktive. This includes nine National Sports Organisations – Badminton NZ, Basketball NZ, Gymnastics NZ, Hockey NZ, Netball NZ, NZ Cricket, NZ Football, Snow Sports NZ, Surf Lifesaving NZ – and six Regional Sports Trusts – Active Southland, Sport Bay of Plenty, Sport Manawatu, Sport Northland, Sport Waikato and Sport Whanganui.

Aktive and Sport NZ will work closely with these organisations to implement Good Sports and develop strategies to better engage and support parents. Good Sports is well aligned with Sport NZ’s ‘Balance is Better’ philosophy and is being used as part of Sport NZ’s national parent approach.

Aktive Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says Balance is Better and Good Sports are complementary and the growing momentum will benefit tamariki, rangatahi and whānau around the country.

“With a number of challenges in children’s sport stemming from adult involvement, Good Sports focuses on raising adults’ awareness about their behaviours and how these impact youth sport. It examines what parents can do differently to ensure children and young people are enjoying sporting experiences,” she said in a statement.

“Together with Sport NZ, we are proud to work with sport organisations to implement Good Sports in their communities. It is fantastic to see the enthusiastic response and the important difference this is making for our tamariki and rangatahi in developing a lifelong love of sport.”

Andy Boyens, Technical Director at New Zealand Football, is excited to join Good Sports and provide even better experiences on and off the pitch.

“NZF are excited to join the Good Sports journey because we know the significant value that our football parents and volunteers give to the development journey of our young people playing the beautiful game across Aotearoa. We want to make sure that those people are well informed and have the knowledge, skill and confidence necessary to support young footballers to enjoy a life long love and enjoyment in our game,” he said in a statement.

The incoming group of organisations will engage in the first of two residentials this year in Hamilton from May 30 to June 1, where they will start in a 12-month accelerated learning environment designed around creating more targeted engagements with parents.

Sport NZ’s national parent approach focuses on supporting national and regional organisations to engage more effectively, support and deliver initiatives to parents and whānau through the provision of tools, resources and research.  Additionally, Sport NZ utilises digital platforms such as the Balance is Better website and Sport NZ social media channels to provide information to help parents grow their understanding of the important role they play in youth sport.

UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 teams up with Girlguiding to encourage participation growth

Women's football

UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 and Girlguiding – the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women – have teamed up to encourage greater participation of girls and young women in football.

The partnership is being announced ahead of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 tournament, which kicks off across England in July this year. It is hoped the collaboration will excite and encourage girls and young women’s interest in football and reinforce the sport’s inclusivity.

Girlguiding members will also have the chance to commemorate the tournament with a brand-new badge, whether they watch a match or take part in the co-created football activities. Through the partnership, more than 5,000 Girlguiding members are planning to attend EURO matches across England this summer.

Recent research commissioned by CHILDWISE found almost one third (32%) of girls aged 7-17 would like more opportunities to play football and more than half of girls (52%) have never watched football in a stadium, compared to 33% of boys.

The research also found 69% of girls would like to see women’s football celebrated more in the media and 71% of all children (boys and girls) think female footballers should be paid the same as male footballers.

To launch the partnership, Girlguiding members from 21st North East Manchester Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and the Greater Manchester Rangers joined England’s Women’s footballers – Katie Zelem and Ella Toone – for a training session at Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium, which will host the opening game of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 on July 6.

England midfielder Katie Zelem said in a statement:

“Getting to meet all the Girlguiding members was incredible. They picked up the activities so quickly and we all had an amazing time on the pitch talking about the game. As a former Rainbow, myself, it’s fantastic to be involved in such an important partnership, one which I have no doubt will help inspire and build girls’ confidence in the game.”

Chris Bryant, Tournament Director for UEFA Women’s EURO 2022, added in a statement:

“This summer’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 promises to be the biggest women’s sporting event in European history.

“It will inspire long-term, sustainable positive change in women’s and girls’ football and we are delighted we have been able to team up with Girlguiding UK to support that change.

“Football is for all. We want to ensure whether its playing or watching, girls have the confidence to get involved and the opportunity to do so. We can’t wait to see Girlguiding members across England cheering on the teams at UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.”

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