Cork Soccer: Everton setting new goals with girls academy thriving

Numbers are booming since Everton focused on expanding their underage section
Cork Soccer: Everton setting new goals with girls academy thriving

Everton FC with their first female players at their new academy

THERE are some exciting times ahead for Togher club Everton who have recently established their first-ever girls academy.

Having seen a huge interest from girls involved in the Denis Irwin Academy, child protection officer Michelle O’Driscoll and a few others involved in the club decided to take a chance and start a girls-only academy.

Three months on and the academy is thriving and O’Driscoll is hoping that it will continue to develop.

“We are overwhelmed with the growing membership to date,” said O’Driscoll. "The girls academy started in October when we as a club felt that the number of girls in our club academy grew bigger.

"We as a club decided to branch out with the girls academy and give them their own identity and it certainly has proved worthwhile. Some of the girls are able to express themselves a little more away from the boys and this confidence has attracted so many more girls to the club. 

“This is the first girls-only academy for Everton with the help of the FAI Disney Playmaker programme which we introduced in November last.

“The girls have the option to train on a Saturday from 12.30pm to 1.30pm in Everton Park with the boys and Tuesday with the girls in CSN from 6pm and some girls attend both. 

"To be able to give the girls the option of playing both has been excellent and we have seen huge progress since. We have up to 55 girls ranging from four to 10 years old and it is fantastic to see.  We have attracted many local players, some of whose fathers are either current or past players of the club.” 

Everton has become the third club in the locality with Kilreen and Wilton who also train in the Togher area. 

And therefore all three teams have attracted many girls from Ballyphehane and Togher areas which is brilliant for the game. 

The recent success of the International senior women’s game has seen a massive increase in participation and the game is growing from strength to strength in which the Cork women’s and schoolgirls soccer league have hugely benefited from the extra girls playing the game.

O’Driscoll and Everton club have great ambitions for their academy and with great people willing to volunteer, they feel they are heading in the right direction.

“At present we have six very good coaches. Sean Cotter, Kevin O Neill, Myself, Margaret Boyle, Pascal De Perro, and Eric Fitzgerald.

"Sean and Eric have many years of experience with the club and coaching. We all have level one coaching behind us. We all work on improving as much as we can as times on go but yes we are always looking for more volunteers who will help steer the academy to where we want it. 

FUN

"The more coaches we have, the better coaching we can give to the girls. Our aim is to roll out the academy and get the girls having fun while playing soccer, and in the coming months we will play some friendly games and enter them into leagues is the plan.

“We welcome healthy competition in the area, I do believe there is enough kids in the area to fill all three clubs and for us to provide kids with the opportunity of playing is what it’s all about.

“My involvement in the club is the child protection officer, I am administration for both academies and coaching the girls alongside Margaret Boyle.

"As an FAI entry-level and One-Star accredited club, this was a natural progression.  With the FAI putting such important emphasis on the girls football and the fantastic achievement of the Irish women's team reaching the World Cup it was a no-brainer for us to branch out.

We have met with FAI officials through the club mark programme who gave us a stat that you would increase your girls numbers by 75% with a stand-alone girls academy and that has proven to be the case. 

"We will be speaking with all local schools in the coming weeks to try an entice girls out to play in our girls academy but for now we are enjoying growing this great club.”

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