Over 1,000 girls participated in the recent Schools Super Festival at the City of Belfast Playing Fields.
Organised by the Irish FA, the event marked the start of a series of activities being run by the Association as part of the FIFA ‘Live Your Goals’ Programme.
Belfast Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon attended the event and helped to officially launch the Programme.
Funded by FIFA, the Programme is designed to raise the profile of girls’ and women’s football and increase the number of females playing the sport.
Selected by FIFA as one of 20 associations awarded funding for the programme, the Irish FA will be rolling out a series of events during 2014 including Girls’ Football Roadshows which will give girls the opportunity to learn new skills by participating in small-sided games and fun coaching drills.
The ultimate aim of these roadshows is to encourage more girls to join their local clubs and to play football on a regular basis.
Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Nichola Mallon, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to see so many young girls taking up football.
“The ‘Live Your Goals’ Programme will most certainly raise the profile of women’s football.
“It’s also a great way for young girls to keep fit and teaches them how to work as part of a team.”
Irish FA Women’s Domestic Football Manager, Sara Booth added: “The amount of girls playing football in schools is huge and our Schools Super Festival demonstrated this when over 1,000 participated.
“The challenge for us as an Association is to encourage the girls that are playing in school to join their local clubs.
“Unfortunately most do not make the transition to club football for a number of reasons but we are hoping that through this programme we will help make that move a little easier.”