Featured Article: Female Football Week
MAY 9 | 2022
Today as part of our Female Football Week we would like to acknowledge the Russell Vale Junior and Senior Women’s Football Club.
Russell Vale Junior Football Club has always had a very strong female representation. This year the club has 126 female players representing and 45% of all players ranging from 5 to 17 years of age.
Alongside this, 6 of Russell Vale’s 12 referees are female, a 50% representation. Their club not only supports the female involvement as a player, but also as a referee. In addition to this, more than half of their committee club members are female, which again, shows that female participation within the club is a major priority.
The club continues to support and encourage female participation, which is why Russell Vale provides opportunities for all age groups, starting from under 7’s right through to the Women’s Youth League.
Dona D’Amico is the Female Club Coordinator and Under 9’s Coach for Russell Vale’s Junior Football Club, alongside an over 30’s player for Russell Vale. Dona has witnessed a lot of positive changes towards female football over the past few years.
This year has marked a special milestone with the formation of the club’s first ever Women’s Youth League team.
“This has been a goal of the clubs for years now. With such a large cohort of female players coming through, we club wanted to ensure they created a pathway for our female players,” Dona D’Amico said.
“Having a Youth League team now gives the junior players the ability to continue playing for their junior club, a club they have grown up playing with, right from the age of 6 years old.”
The Youth Grade side also provides a pathway into multiple Women’s Competitions. The Senior Russell Vale Women’s teams are showing 100% support for the juniors, particularly with the combining of the Youth League and Women’s Division 2 players in the pre-season Bonnie Lassie Cup. The mixed side topped their group but went down 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
In celebration of Female Football Week, the club had planned for a female goalkeeper coaching clinic which would be run by former Australia Representative Goalkeeper, Belinda Barter.
Belinda is a part of Football South Coast and has been for the last 12 years, as well as a player for the Russell Vale Under 30’s Women’s team.
“The session will focus on up-and-coming female goalkeepers and will showcase the foundations and skills required for female confidence goals,” D’Amico said.
“We know the girls will learn so much from Belinda and we are so lucky to have her as part of our club.”
Unfortunately, with the closure of the grounds, the event has been postponed until further notice. Nevertheless, the club will continue to support Female Football Week by sharing team profiles of their female teams from under 7’s through to Youth Grade over the course of the week.
“Russell Vale is a community-based club with the aim of providing an opportunity for our players to have fun in a supportive environment. We believe it has been this supportive culture in addition to the club’s reputation that has encouraged our girls to stay at the club, enabling the attraction of new players,” D’Amico said.
“The progression of female football has come a long way in the last decade but there is more that can be done to encourage female participation and equal opportunities.
“Dedicated training opportunities and representative pathways without having to leave your local club are also ways to assist our female players and encourage more growth in female football.”