Springwood United girls are kicking goals

The girls at Springwood United Football Club are kicking goals thanks to a club focus on boosting female participation and a NSW government Local Sports grant.

Local sports grant recipients: Springwood United Football Club player Emilie Dempsey and club female participation co-ordinator Rene Dempsey, with Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle.

Local sports grant recipients: Springwood United Football Club player Emilie Dempsey and club female participation co-ordinator Rene Dempsey, with Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle.

Each of the 259 female players at the club recently received a soccer ball, thanks to the $4000 grant.

The club's female football co-ordinator, Rene Dempsey, said the soccer balls would make football even more accessible to girls, so they can practice in their backyard over the summer break and into next season, in addition to club training.

"The girls were thrilled. It was a lovely way to end the season," Mrs Dempsey said.

The coronavirus pandemic had meant restrictions on the number of onlookers at the ground per football player for games and at training, and increased sanitisation, but the club was able to participate in a full but delayed season in the Nepean Football Association competition from July.

Mrs Dempsey said when the season resumes again in March, they'll be raring to go.

"We will know what we are in for next year ... we understand the restrictions and the guidelines. We are looking forward to a normal season," she said.

Mrs Dempsey hopes next season to bring in some initiatives they had planned to introduce this year, but the pandemic got in the way.

The club is looking to provide specific goalie and striker training for girls, as well as a mentoring program, and gala nights celebrating female achievement.

On a recent visit to Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle's office, 10-year-old club member Emilie Dempsey said: "The 'Goals for Girls' soccer balls are great because I can keep up my skills and I can kick a ball whenever I want. I encourage girls to give football a try because it's a fun game and you can make lots of new friends."

Ms Doyle is an enthusiastic advocate for female participation in sport. "These are the kind of projects that I am so happy to support as they make such a big difference," she said.

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