Kids take part in the UEFA Disney Playmakers programme at Ballyoulster United. Photo: Conor Ryan
Over 800 girls aged between 5-8 recently took part in the UEFA Disney Playmakers Programme across the country.
Twenty-nine different clubs around the country took part in the programme, which uses the positive role of storytelling to help children take up sport.
Playmakers employs an innovative storytelling approach featuring much-loved Disney characters to help more girls see the fun in regular physical exercise and football.
Derek O'Kelly, Child Welfare Officer at Ballyoulster United, said: "The UEFA Disney Playmakers programme was a very positive experience for our club. One of the main things that stood out was the inclusion of life skills.
"We know from the evidence that one of the reasons girls play football is for personal development. This makes the programme a win win as the skills needed to improve outcomes in life such as confidence, resilience, positivity and leadership, are the same ones needed to improve outcomes in sport.
"We would have every confidence that the Disney programme will lead to increased participation and retention of young girls in football."
Pearl Slattery, FAI Programme Coordinator for Women's Football, said: "We are absolutely delighted with how Year One of the UEFA Disney Playmakers Programme has gone.
"This was a new initiative from UEFA to support national associations to connect with girls at younger age groups through storytelling, introducing life skills and developing football basics. We have had over 800 5-8 year old girls take part and the hope would be that through this positive experience that it will lead them to lifelong participation in our sport.
"We would like to thank all of the clubs who hosted the programme for their superb work and support to make it as successful as it has been. We look forward to expanding the programme around the country in 2022."
For further information on Playmakers visit http://www.uefa.com/ playmakers
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