Emma Haack, Laura Rudken, coach Richard Mitchell, Caitlin Thompson and Clancy Topp watch Madelyn McCracken perform with the ball.
Emma Haack, Laura Rudken, coach Richard Mitchell, Caitlin Thompson and Clancy Topp watch Madelyn McCracken perform with the ball. Mike Knott

Girls academy set to take off

FOOTBALL Bundaberg coaching and development manager Richard Mitchell is beaming about a new program which will kick off next week — the under-19 Football Academy for Girls.

The first training/trial session for the academy will be held at Martens Oval next Wednesday from 5.30-7pm, and about 75 players have been invited to join in.

Mitchell said the number of women and girls playing the game was continuing to grow, and the standard also keeps rising, but he was aiming to continue these trends and also ensure every female player reaches their potential.

“We believe this to be an exciting concept that will provide a pathway in football, and if Football Queensland should have a competition for Queensland State League (QSL) under-19 girls or ladies, which they are working towards, then the participants in this program will have had a good start in their development,” Mitchell said.

He said the academy's aim was four-fold – “to develop young ladies to reach their full potential, maximise the potential of individual players, to motivate players to further their careers and stay longer in the game, and expose the girls to a higher level of coaching to assist with their development”.

To achieve this, Mitchell said the academy would “organise higher level games against other centres and tournaments in other areas, conduct high performance training once a week at Martens Oval under himself and assistant coach (and former long serving Queensland open women's representative) Debbie Caldwell, and train from time to time with the Bundaberg Spirit QSL under-19 boys squad”.

Mitchell said participation in the program would importantly not prevent players from continuing to play for their clubs.

“We will train once a week and the girls can then go back to their clubs at the weekends, which is win-win for everyone, so clubs can rest easy and also reap the benefits of the academy,” he said.

“There may also be younger players who wish to participate and we will look at this later and judge what is best for the player – to use a well-coined phrase, it will be ‘just magic', and the benefits will be far reaching.''

Mitchell said players should confirm their attendance or otherwise at Wednesday's session, so that he can forward his planning.

Mitchell can be contacted at RMitchell@footballbundaberg.com.au or phone 0448 513 424



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