Female football participation numbers continue to boom in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie but there is one age group still showing little growth.
Northern NSW Football female participation officer Nyssa Suchanow said participation levels for MiniRoos, five to 12 years, had increased again this year and there was a significant increase in open women’s competition.
But Ms Suchanow said the youth, 12 to 18-years, age group was not increasing.
She hopes the 10-week MiniRoos for Girls summer program to be delivered in several locations in the area in Term 4 can help bridge the gap in the not too distant future.
“The biggest boom of players in 2016 competitions has been in that MiniRoos age group,” she said.
“The number of registered players in Newcastle and Macquarie Football in that age group has increased by nearly 500 in the past four or five years. That’s a significant increase.
“Women’s All Age football this year has also really expanded. There was a whole extra eight teams in All Age and another grade added.
“The only area lacking growth at the moment is youth, which is probably the hardest area because numbers in most sports tend to drop off in those years for female participation.”
That is why she said the MiniRoos for Girls 10-week summer program had such importance to female football development.
MiniRoos for Girls is a 10-week national program run by NNSW Football and aims “to get more young girls involved in football through an environment that is focused solely on them and hoping to develop a love of the game in them”.
It introduces girls to football in a structured but fun way, delivering weekly one-hour sessions comprising skills development and games.
“The whole point when we started this program in 2011 with under-sixes was to keep them in the sport,” she said.
“We hope in the next two years, as they reach that youth age, numbers will filter into under-12s competition and keep building up from there and in 15 years’ time we will have All Age competitions down to Z grade.
“A lot of the work we want to do is to get girls to fall in love with football and to stick with the game.”
The MiniRoos for Girls 10-week program begins on October 11 and will be delivered in Garden Surburb, Wallsend, Speers Point and Cooks Hill.
More information on the program or to register, go to northernnswfootball.com.au/miniroosforgirls