QOS women’s sec­tion is gain­ing mo­men­tum

Girls in­spired by Scots World Cup suc­cess

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - SPORTS - Stu­art McFar­lane

The fu­ture of women’s foot­ball in the re­gion is look­ing bright, as the next gen­er­a­tion of tal­ent aims to em­u­late Scot­land’s World Cup heroes.

Queen of the South’s ladies’ and girls’ teams have been go­ing from strength to strength, trans­form­ing from a soli­tary women’s team four years ago to a grow­ing pro­gramme across age groups, in­clud­ing an un­der 15 team, two un­der 13 sides, as well as un­der 11 and un­der nines.

The Stan­dard took a trip to the club’s new base at the North West Com­mu­nity Cam­pus at Lochside to find out more about the op­por­tu­ni­ties for girls in­ter­ested in tak­ing up the game lo­cally to get in­volved – and some of the chal­lenges in main­tain­ing the dif­fer­ent age group teams.

The club hopes that with a strong coach­ing staff in place and good fa­cil­i­ties read­ily avail­able, they will be able to at­tract some top tal­ent from their doorstep and com­pete with some of the big women’s foot­ball pro­grammes based in the cen­tral belt.

One of the club’s un­der 15 coaches, Alas­tair Bar­ron, said: “Girls foot­ball has re­ally taken off through­out Scot­land and with the ladies teams get­ting to the World Cup for the first time, the en­thu­si­asm was re­ally amaz­ing.

“We ini­tially wanted two squads at un­der 15 to have a de­vel­op­ment and per­for­mance team, but af­ter a few dropped out, we were left with a squad of about 25 which now com­petes against some of the big sides like Glas­gow City, St Mir­ren and Ayr.

“If ev­ery­one is avail­able, then it can mean that a cou­ple of the girls can miss out, but we try to ro­tate things ac­cord­ing to per­for­mances.

“At un­der 13s, there are a lot of good lo­cal sides like He­ston, St Cuth­bert’s and Mid An­nan­dale, but hardly any teams play at un­der 15s be­cause girls tend out to drop out.

“We usu­ally get about 20 to 22 girls reg­u­larly for train­ing and that’s a good squad, es­pe­cially be­cause they get along well with each other and are en­thu­si­as­tic about play­ing the game.”

The club hope that next year, they will be able to run a ladies team af­ter be­ing un­able to ful­fil fix­tures this sea­son due to play­ers’ work and fam­ily com­mit­ments.

But, de­spite that, a core of ladies play­ers con­tinue to turn up for train­ing along­side the youth squads, as well as help­ing out with coach­ing.

Twenty-four-year-old Rosy Ryan has been with the club for 13 years and bal­ances her job with Cricket Scot­land and train­ing with help­ing out the Queens’ un­der nine side.

She told the Stan­dard: “There’s more of a path­way in place for young girls than when I started with Dum­fries Ladies and that’s along­side good role mod­els and fe­male coaches which al­ways tends to help.

“The good thing is that we in­te­grate the train­ing and let the teams min­gle with each other, which means that it’s less scary for them and there’s a good bit of ban­ter.

“The play­ers are com­ing as much for that so­cial as­pect as for the foot­ball it­self and that’s got to be part of it in keep­ing the teenagers in­ter­ested in com­ing back.

“Mak­ing a World Cup is amaz­ing for Scot­land in any sport and so for the women’s team to do it, that’s such a good boost and puts us on a pedestal with the top na­tions.

“It’s go­ing to show them off as proper role mod­els and not some­one that you can walk past on the street and that’s so im­por­tant be­cause the worst thing pos­si­ble would be to not make enough noise about this World Cup.”

To­gether The un­der 11 , un­der 15 and ladies squads from the Queen of the South Ladies foot­ball set­tling into their new train­ing fa­cil­i­ties at the North West Com­mu­nity Cam­pus in Dum­fries

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