Girls get own session
Girls were centre-field at Windley School last week, receiving coaching from a professional soccer player to celebrate ‘‘females in football’’ week.
Windley is the first school in Porirua to trial a Sport and Recreation New Zealand (Sparc) scheme offering pupils an eight-week soccer coaching course.
Normally girls and boys play together but last Tuesday the girls had their own coaching session and game to recognise New Zealand football’s Girls’ and Women’s Week.
Windley girls of all ages were coached by 25-year-old Emma Humphries, who played centre midfield for New Zealand’s Football Ferns at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China.
The idea of girls-only football in schools is to give girls confidence and a safe space to try the sport, Ms Humphries says.
‘‘They have different natures, girls and boys. Not every girl wants to get muddy.’’
The rules of the game stay the same, but certain modifications are made, especially for younger players, such as a smaller playing field and no goal keepers, she says.
If girls find they enjoy the beautiful game, they can play in girls-only leagues this summer.
‘‘The idea is that girls who play netball in winter can play football in summer,’’ Ms Humphries says.
Seventy-eight teams nationwide are already signed up for the league, which takes advantage of empty playing fields during summer, football’s off-season.
Windley School’s year 1 and 2 pupils showed huge potential and enthusiasm for football last week, but will need a few more weeks’ coaching before they are ready for league-level sport.
‘‘We’re still teaching them which way to run,’’ Ms Humphries says.
Seven-year-old Moana Tipa, who played with her classmates as ‘‘Japan’’ last week, says the sport is challenging.
‘‘It was hard getting goals because ‘China’ kept on kicking back to their goal,’’ she says.
She says girls-only football is better than playing with boys. ‘‘[It’s] not fun because they make us fall down.’’
The girls-only summer leagues kick off in October. To find a local team, contact Emma Humphries at Capital Football, 212 6551.
Girls only: Windley School girls got a professional soccer lesson from former Football Ferns player Emma Humphries last week for NZ Football’s Girls’ and Women’s Week. Pictured is Emma with Windley’s year 1 and 2 class. Sitting are Broklyn Palu, Melan Iosua-Taupe, Moana Tipa, Hope Calder, Masina Evaga, and Shakira Munro. Standing behind are Eturienar Risale, Tiane Luti, Egypt Nepia and Ashleigh Ono-Tino.