Core skills program now offered to female players

WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Women's ootball will remain high on the agenda for Football South Coast, despite the region losing out on hosting Sydney FC's rescheduled W-League fixture.

Sydney were to play their second of three W-League matches at WIN Stadium last Sunday, but the game was postponed due to the International Women's Club Championship in Japan.

However, the marquee derby with the Western Sydney Wanderers was consequently moved to WIN Jubilee Oval on January 15.

Football South Coast chief executive Ann-Marie Balliana said it was disappointing to lose the match, but wasn't dwelling on unfortunate circumstances.

"It is [a blow], we like the opportunity to get those sort of games down here," she said. "But we had the Youth League game on and there is still another W-League game scheduled.

"We have been really lucky to get those games down here in the first place, so there is still more to look forward to."

The governing body intend to keep women's football a priority, outside of just the W-League, by launching the region's first Girls Acquisition Program for players aged 10 to 12. With more than 2500 females playing football in the Illawarra, FSC technical director Glenn Fontana said it was time for an elite training program.

"The idea is to bring some parity for the girls in the younger age for the skills acquisition phase, which is roughly nine to 12 years of age," Fontana said.

"The boys have got a program that has been going for a long time and it is run and coordinated by Football NSW and endorsed by the FFA. It is a strong program with about 60 boys.

"What I have started is a girls program, which is the start of what I would like to replicate for boys and girls due to the fact that it is the fastest growing game for girls in Australia."

Currently the program is capped at 16 players, with a hope of development in the new year.

Fontana said it will focus on teaching core skills from the FFA National Curriculum including first touch, ball striking, dribbling and one versus one.

"The idea is to focus on those core principles and in the skills acquisition phase and prepare the girls for the skills training phase," Fontana said.

"What we are trying to do is identify the best ones and the ones who are showing the interest and potential, to go through our system and hopefully in the years to come make more Caitlin Foords.

"Players like Caitlin Foord were in a program similar to this but she was with boys. But because women's football is so strong, we decided to make a girls only program."

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