Wednesday 05 October 2016, 08:09

Live Your Goals brings a sparkle to participants' eyes

September was quite the month for women's football. Not only was there was action aplenty at club level and in the U-17s, it was also a busy time for the Live Your Goals campaign, which has become one of FIFA's most important initiatives in the women's game. Several festivals were held throughout the month, including in Latvia and India. takes a closer look at a select few.

Latvia: Whole-hearted commitment On 17 September the port city of Liepaja in western Latvia staged a Live Your Goals Festival. The event was coordinated by FC Liepaja, known locally as FK Liepaja, the biggest and most famous club in the Courland region ('Kurzeme' in Latvian). The men's team play in the Premier League and the women in the Women's League, where they currently sit second in the table. Over 60 young girls took their first steps in the game, and their enthusiasm was there for all to see. The football pitch was divided into different sections and the girls were split into groups before taking part in a form of circuit training, moving from station to station, guided at each stage by a LYG instructor. Players from FC Liepaja's women's team helped coach the girls in the basics of the game. At the end of the festival the children's eyes sparkled with excitement, highlighting how much they had enjoyed the occasion and made the most of gleefully chasing after the ball.

There was another festival the following day, a Sunday, this time in the city of Jelgava, located 44 kilometres south-west of Riga. It was led by JFA Jelgava, a club as yet without a women's team. Some 110 youngsters gathered to sample their first taste of football, and 40 of them were so enthused that they wanted to register at the club and inquired about the possibility of continuing to play. Such a response underscores the significance of campaigns like Live Your Goals.

India: Promoting women's football nationwide

A festival held by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) brought smiles to the faces of 95 girls between the ages of six and 12. Alongside their parents and teachers, the girls arrived at the Bal Bharti Public School in New Delhi to play diverse games and join in entertaining and educational training sessions. Parents and teachers doubled up as motivators, constantly offering encouragement to the participants. The children threw themselves into playing football and were supported by current India U-16 and U-19 women's international Anushka Samuel, as well as Dalima Chhibber from the senior women's side. The event should help promote women's football across the entire country.

Prior to that another festival took place in Nangloi, New Delhi, with 130 school children aged between nine and 11 turning up to kick the ball around and play against each other on small pitches.

Turks and Caicos Islands: Live Your Goals provides memorable moments "The girls had an absolutely fabulous and wonderful morning full of fun at the Live Your Goals festival in Providenciales," said coach Damien Grant of the event that was held on 25 September on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Karmeta Burke, from the North/Middle Caicos Academy, added: "Our girls had so much fun."

Over 100 girls from neighbouring islands (South Caicos and North and Middle Caicos) arrived to showcase their talents or to try the game for the first time. The event was organised by the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association (TCIFA). President Sonia Bien-Aime, General Secretary Candia Ewing, Technical Director Darren Meehan, EXCO Director Candace Hanchell, LYG Ambassador Olivia Gravely and other TCIFA EXCO Members and Women's Football Board Members were in attendance and assisted with the event.

Other activities In addition to those mentioned above, further festivals were held in Guam, Tahiti, Slovenia, Scotland, Palestine, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Belize, Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Curacao, Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland and Papua New Guinea.