The Guernsey Football Association has launched the #Goal23 project that aims to continue its support of grassroots girls football and build a competitive senior women's squad for the 2023 NatWest Island Games, thanks to ongoing support from Mourant.
The law firm-led professional services business has agreed to extend their previous three-year sponsorship deal with the GFA to support the Mourant Girls Academy and the refreshed #Goal23 project. With the NatWest Island Games postponed until 2023, the extension of the sponsorship allows the GFA to continue their work to develop a Ladies Representative Football team to participate at an international level when Guernsey hosts the Games in the summer of 2023.
The GFA Mourant Girls Football Academy now has over 40 girls within the U12, U13, U14 and U16 age groups. With the introduction of U10 and U11 squads this season, there is the potential to add a further 28 players to the overall Academy.
Since the creation of the Mourant Girls Academy in 2018, 14 players have since graduated into the senior game with the ambition to participate in the 2023 Island Games. Through the delay of the Games, younger players have been afforded the opportunity to progress through the pathway into senior football as the minimum age for players is 16.
Joelle Pengelley, Women and Girls Development Officer at the GFA, said: “The pathway we're creating through the Mourant Girls Academy provides strong opportunities for players to become part of competitive squads. Plus, when it is safe to travel, the girls will enjoy the experience of playing against all female teams in the Isle of Man and Jersey. This is not something we can achieve locally as the girls have been playing fixtures against local club teams which are predominantly made up of males.
“The #Goal23 project includes some really exciting plans for girls football in Guernsey, as we continue to build the foundations towards the 2023 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 2023 and beyond.”
John Lewis, Mourant Guernsey Managing Partner, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to continue our support of the GFA Mourant Girls Academy and Ladies team for the next three years. It's a great fit with our values as a firm, and our focus on inclusion, development, teamwork and wellbeing.
"The GFA's commitment to grow female football, inspire local young people to be the best they can be and to have island representation at a national and international level really resonated with us. The Island Games offers an exciting opportunity for local athletes and the whole community in bringing Guernsey sport to the world stage. We look forward to supporting and cheering on the ladies team right through to 2023."