Harmon, Guam – No experience necessary for recruitment – just bundles of energy and a commitment to having fun required.
For many girls new to soccer, the past three weeks of The Score’s Just Kick It All-Girls Event and FIFA Festival for Girls continues to be a grand opportunity to fall in love with the sport. For local clubs, the five-week event also is an opportunity to grow interest in the sport by inviting new, young female athletes who might not have otherwise played.
“To me, the main focus of the festival is to get the girls out there playing the sport and have fun in the process,” ASC ISA Islanders coach Sam San Gil said. “So far, it’s been good and there’s an improvement in the teams every week.
“Even though matches are over for the day, the girls always still want to keep playing,” San Gil, a U8 coach, added.
In the Islanders’ U8 Girls team, three of the eight girls are completely new to the sport, including a “fearless” Jomae Pablo, who is playing one age group up for the all-girls event.
“I never played soccer before but I like it when we kick the ball and the ball goes into the goal,” said Pablo, a student at Chief Brodie Memorial School.
[Photo: Teams play in the U10 division during Week 3 of The Score’s “Just Kick It” All-Girls Event and FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.]
With the backing of FIFA, the all-girls event continues to gain popularity and attract more players weekly. Match balls, colorful Adidas bibs, and pop up goals were provided for the younger group’s matches. Each player also received pink Adidas jerseys to wear each week. For the older U14 and U17 age groups, white and pink Adidas jerseys, shin guards, and cleats were provided by FIFA. Additionally, team representatives from the upper age divisions received complimentary Adidas practice balls and FIFA ball bag for use at club practices for the all-girls teams.
Prior to Week 2 matches, Guam Football Associations executives, including president Richard Lai, vice president Joseph Cepeda and general secretary Tino San Gil, stopped by GFA to take a photo with the festival athletes and also to see firsthand the magnitude of the event.
“You can see so much excitement and energy in the young players on the pitch when they’re playing their matches,” Lai said. “I am thankful for FIFA providing support for this event to help grow the sport among our local female athletes.”
In the U17 division, Yae Kawauchi, Skyylerblu Johnson, Colleen Naden, Andrea Odell, Francesca Pangelinan and Hinako Ito all scored in the team’s win over the Southern Heat. The Heat’s Aly Cruz scored off a cross from Kami Cruz for the team’s lone goal. In the other U17 match, the Islanders defeated Quality Distributors 3-1. Paris “Mames” Blas, Veronica Dydasco and Gabby Evaristo scored for the Islanders. Elisha Benavente scored Quality’s lone goal when her corner kick curved into the goal.
The All-Girls event is one of many projects planned by GFA’s Women’s Committee to increase female participation in the sport before the year’s end. With assistance from FIFA, the committee will be putting on a recreational women’s 7-A-Side league for mainly new female athletes to the sport and a concurrent competitive 11-A-Side league for more experienced athletes.