Freitas: ‘Women’s football starts with the kids’

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THE enigma surrounding women’s football in Jersey is complex.

While many would argue that desperate support is needed at grassroots level, others would counter that there are not enough coaches.

It is a double-edged sword that has stifled the league’s progression for many a moon.

One opinion that all footballing Caesareans seem to agree on is, that if Grouville left the league the outcome would be bad for those left behind.

St Lawrence’s Ivan Freitas had just finished coaching his side to a 3-0 success over Jersey Wanderers, but lingering league issues played on his mind.

He said: ‘We are grateful that the JFA have stepped in.

‘No one involved in the women’s game locally wants to see them [Grouville] forced to withdraw.

The easterners are not the first outfit to experience participation issues within the squad.

Portuguese United Women’s stint in the division was shortlived for the same reason – personnel issues have long been present.

To help avoid that worst-case scenario, the JFA brought in goalscoring guidance late last month, which capped the eastern-parish outfit’s goal difference at five, removing the chance of heavily one-sided results.

The rule has seemingly had the immediate impact it hoped for, with Grouville fulfilling both their league fixtures this month against Jersey Wanderers and leaders Rozel last weekend.

Freitas said: ‘I think for the short term, we are all really hopeful that the rule change is successful, but there needs to be continued work behind the scenes to see where it went wrong.

‘If we expect change to occur, it must first be addressed in schools. But then again, without adequate coaches available, we wouldn’t be able to cater for the rise in players.’

Participation in the sport has long been an issue, while local sports such as netball are on the incline, women’s football has suffered.

Schoolchildren are growing up idolising different role models, from different sports. While the three lions captured the imaginations of many mainland children, Jersey’s girls seemed to have looked elsewhere for their sporting stars.

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