Former international says parents should use Women’s World Cup to create new role models for young girls

Coach and former Ireland international Emer Flatley

Coach and former Ireland international Emer Flatley

With the FIFA women’s World Cup kicking off in France tomorrow (Friday ) afternoon, a former Irish international player who played in the UEFA Champions League for Galway in 2009 is calling on more Galway girls to tune in, get informed, and identify international stars who can be their role models.

Emer Flatley, a coach with Galway WFC and the Galway U17 squad said that the event should be used to encourage more young girls to start playing football and to stay involved right through to adulthood.

“All of the World Cup games from France are being televised live on RTE and TG4, and with the world’s top female players in action, this represents a great chance for young girls to create new role models for them to follow into the game,” said Ms Flatley.

“When I was young, there were no female soccer matches on TV but this summer with the Women’s World Cup being shown on RTE and TG4, it’s a great opportunity for young girls to identify role models and envisage themselves playing at that level in the future.

“It really is all about enabling themselves to identify female footballers to whom they can look up. This is the aim of the 20X20 #cantseecantbe campaign.

“20×20 is about creating a cultural shift in our perception of girls and women in sport. By increasing visibility of women’s sport it will become a greater part of who we are and what we follow.

“There is already so much to celebrate when it comes to women’s sport in Ireland, but there isn’t enough noise. The initiative seeks to change the subliminal bias in the Irish psyche that exists around girls and boys, or women and men, when it comes to sport. The objectives of the campaign are to increase media coverage, participation and attendance at women’s sporting events by 20% by the year 2020.

Emer Flatley played for Ireland underage and locally with Salthill Devon and Galway and qualified for Champions League with Galway in 2009.

“I received a full scholarship to play in the US and after four years of playing there I got involved in the coaching side and knew I wanted to help pave the way for future generations of young females in soccer,” she said.

To pass on her vast knowledge and experience, Emer Flatley is to hold a soccer camp for girls aged 6-14 from July 15-19 on the Shantalla pitch.

The fee for the five-day course is €75 and top players for Galway WFC will help coach at the camp. This season, Galway WFC are challenging for the top places in the Só Hotels-sponsored Women’s National League.

From next season all League of Ireland clubs who qualify for Europe have to have an associate women’s team, so there will be more demand for female soccer players and coaches, hence the need to intrpoduce more young players to the game.

“Moving back to Ireland in 2017, I knew I wanted to continue with coaching and I obtained my UEFA B license this past year.

“The big aim of this camp is to get girls playing with girls and enjoying the game of soccer in a fun and encouraging environment.

“I also hope it will encourage the young girls to come and support GWFC/U17 locally and look up to the stars in soccer. Everyone who attends the course will also receive a free season ticket for all the Galway WFC home matches.

Spaces are limited on the camp. To book a space, call or text Emer Flatley on 0838798100 to book a spot.

And make sure you and your children watch the Women’s World Cup.

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