Kick Off - - FEATURE -

Lau­ren Dun­can has been a driving force be­hind the JVW League and along with Ja­nine van Wyk, has or­ches­trated the tremen­dous growth in the plat­form. She dou­bles up that po­si­tion with her role as team man­ager for the SA Un­der-20 side, and was also in­stru­men­tal in the for­ma­tion of Sa­sol League club JVW FC. “We have seen a pos­i­tive im­pact in the amount of girls that now have the op­por­tu­nity to play foot­ball while still at school, where be­fore cer­tain schools did not of­fer the sport,” Dun­can tells KICK OFF. “The JVW Schools League has changed the lives of girls by pro­vid­ing an en­vi­ron­ment for girls to pur­sue their ca­reers in the sport. Our aim is to grow the league na­tion­ally, en­abling girls in other prov­inces to gain the same op­por­tu­nity. The league is also used as a plat­form for tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion as most don’t play at club level. “The big­gest chal­lenge was and still is lack of spon­sor­ship to pro­vide these schools with the nec­es­sary equip­ment and at­tire. The league was formed as a way for Ja­nine to give back to girls at school level and to pro­vide a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment for girls to pur­sue their dreams and play foot­ball whilst still at school.” The league does not have a spon­sor, but has found some sup­port within lo­cal gov­ern­ment. “We have re­ceived sup­port from the Ekurhu­leni Sports and Re­cre­ation Depart­ment, who as­sist us in the JVW Awards and Play-offs. With­out their help we would not have been able to award our play­ers at the end of the year. They have been a big part of our suc­cess since 2013 and con­tinue to work with us,” Dun­can says. “Our ul­ti­mate dream is to be able to of­fer and af­ford ev­ery girl player an op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in our league no mat­ter where they are lo­cated.”

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