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Blantyre Soccer Academy launch girls football pathway

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Blantyre Soccer Academy, who have run a very successful boys academy for some time now, have recently been trying to form a pathway for the future stars in women's football.
 
The first girls sessions at the academy were held in December by Donald Gillies, Head of Girl's and Women's Football for the Scottish FA and Laura Daly, who we managed to get a hold of for an interview. Daly, who was formerly at East Kilbride, Glasgow City and Motherwell Football Community Trust had this to say
 
"The first girls session was delivered by myself and Donald on Friday 1st December. Before this it was agreed that as a club we would run a 3 week trial period for girls to come and try the taster sessions before the festive break, purely to allow them to try it before committing to it.
 
"I can happily say it was a huge success, with not only an average of 20 girls over they 3 weeks, but also the number still being the same all these weeks later." 
 
"After just short of 5 years at Motherwell Football Club Community Trust, and my contract running out, I decided it was time for a fresh challenge for myself with a new club. Before even contacting Blantyre Soccer Academy I had heard of the work they do through parents and other clubs. So I just chanced my arm and sent an email to enquire about my background in football and what I could offer them. Luckily for me I got a response almost immediately and it kicked off from there really."
 
The success of the girls sessions has caused great excitement around the academy and according to Daly, there are plenty of plans for the girls at the academy going forward.
 
"We’ve had lots of discussions about how to move forward as a whole and in such a small period of time we already have a number of objectives we want to complete. Right now I’m pretty confident I can field not only an under 11s girls team, but also an under 9s too. This will be kept running by the girls who we aim to target through local school taster sessions and also a soccer centre which should be up and running in March.
 
"So despite doing well so far, I personally want to keep pushing for even more success. The support I have from the club and the people involved is incredible and it’s a huge part of why the number of girls attending so far has been so high. Everyone does their part to make it the best experience possible."
 
 The women's game has been growing in Scotland for many years and Daly is extremely proud and motivated to be a part of that in helping young girls on their path to a playing career.
 
"I think just to be able to make girls feel important and equal to the boys is a credit to any coach involved in a girls set up. There is no doubting women’s football is growing more each year and if I can help a number of girls be part of that history and they enjoy it then I guess I’m doing my job.
 
"I think the most rewarding part for me is to give the girls something I didn’t have when I was their age as opportunities are important."
 
When asked finally about the ambitions for herself and the academy as a whole, Daly replied, "I think personally going forward it’s about growing the girls game more and more each month within the club, and looking at making it sustainable. I certainly don’t want girls to come and enjoy their football but then fall away from it due to it breaking down so from my end I will be trying to make sure the pathway is there.
 
"I also think from a clubs perspective we can’t forget about the boys, disability teams and all the other initiatives the club run as they are all just as important as the girls and again, it’s about making a difference to someone’s life and giving them every opportunity we can to succeed.

"I’d also like to state that the Friday night sessions are open to any girls who want to come along and try it, the main focus just now being from 5-11 year olds. There is no experience needed as it’s focused around learning football skills, life skills and full of enjoyment. The sessions run at Hamilton Palace Sports Grounds 4-6.30pm and if you contact the club via email or myself we are more than happy to answer any questions you may have."

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