FAS out to attract female footballers
Fifa 'Live Your Goals' festival launched to widen pool of female footballers
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) launched the first Fifa "Live Your Goals" (LYG) festival in Singapore yesterday, with the goal of attracting more footballers of the fairer sex.
Not only does it want to encourage girls and women to pick up the sport, it also aims to keep them in the game.
As part of the initiative, it will conduct free football clinics and small-sided games for girls aged between six and 15 at its LYG centres.
Players will also get to take part in various leagues, such as the Fifa LYG league, the U-16 youth league and the elite Women's Premier League for U-19s.
At the moment, there are two LYG Centres - Queensway and Bowen - where weekly sessions will start from this weekend.
The top players from these two centres will then be selected to train at the LYG Advanced Centre at Queensway Secondary School.
National selectors will also scout for possible talent from the pool to represent the national women's Under-14, U-16, U-19 and A teams.
Julie Teo, general manager of grassroots and women's football at FAS, said at Queensway Secondary School yesterday: "Every Saturday, if they are interested, they can continue to come here, or at Bowen Secondary on Sundays.
"These are our current FAS Cubs Centres for girls and we will convert them to centres for LYG since we have this programme from Fifa.
"Some schools have indicated interest, and we plan to set up more LYG centres in such schools."
There will be a similar launch today at Bowen Secondary School to cater to aspiring footballers in that area.
As part of the programme, which is completely subsidised by Fifa, players will have the opportunity to meet members of the women's national team.
Teo said: "We use the senior national team players as faces to promote women's football and to be looked upon as role models for girls.
"There is also a pathway for girls who want to play football.
"From the campaign, we hope to get more girls to play football to build a broader base so that they can move up to elite ranks and eventually to the national team."
Parents who attended the launch yesterday feel that this initiative will help to spur the growth of the sport.
Ex-national woman footballer, Shida Shariff Baker, 36, said: "I'm quite excited to see how this will turn out because I wasn't given such an opportunity in my time.
"To see the FAS and Fifa bring such an event together exclusively for girls to encourage them to play football is very heartwarming. It's a free event and I can see my daughter having fun.
"People in Singapore should come and give it a try even if your daughter doesn't play football."
The Fifa LYG festival was first launched at the Women's World Cup in Germany in 2011.
Those who are interested to join can write in to firstname.lastname@example.org.