QOS women’s section is gaining momentum
Girls inspired by Scots World Cup success
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