Guernsey football takes a major step forward this week towards its goal of building on the initial success of the Guernsey FA Girls Football Academy.
Two teams from the GFA Girls Football Academy head to Jersey on Sunday, the day after the Hepburns Insurance Muratti Vase Final, to play age group fixtures at U13 and U15 against the Jersey Link Asset Services Girls Player Development Centre.
And for the first time the squad will have the backing of leading offshore law firm and governance services provider Mourant, which has agreed a three-year sponsorship deal with the Guernsey Football Association to support the Academy and the GFA’s #Goal21 project, which aims to build a competitive senior women’s squad for the NatWest Island Games in Guernsey in 2021 and beyond.
Sunday’s matches follow hugely successful matches last summer where three age group fixtures were played in one day in Guernsey, followed by a reciprocal visit to Jersey by the GFA Girls Academy.
Some 30 girls are currently involved in the Guernsey Academy and most of them will travel to Jersey for the matches on Sunday. The squads have warmed up for these friendly fixtures with twice-weekly training sessions and games against some boys teams.
Joelle Pengelley, Women and Girls Development Officer at the GFA, said: “The squad is really looking forward to the games this weekend. Playing these fixtures last season was massive for the confidence and development of the squad and we have been pleased to keep building on that with the group over the winter.
“The #Goal21 project is ambitious and includes some really exciting plans for girls football in Guernsey, as we continue to build the foundations towards the 2021 Island Games.
“The GFA is hugely grateful for the long-term support from Mourant which gives us the confidence to really push forward with this project all the way to June 2021 and beyond.”
Jessica Roland, Mourant Guernsey Managing Partner, said: “We are really proud to get behind this initiative. It’s a great fit with our values as a firm, and our unrelenting focus on promoting gender equality, health and wellness, and diversity. A strong team spirit is also a significant part of our culture as is sharing an ambition to succeed.
“Giving the squad a long-term commitment in this way will also, we hope, help all those involved to participate at a global level. The Island Games offers a unique opportunity for local athletes to compete at an international level, bringing Guernsey sport to the world stage and having a really positive impact on our community. We will be cheering the squad on right through to 2021.”
Sunday’s matches take place at Springfield in St Helier on Sunday (13 May) kicking off at 10.45am.