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UEFA and Disney unite to inspire young girls to play football

SFA's Playmakers project aims to get more young girls playing football through the power of Disney storytelling.
SFA's Playmakers project aims to get more young girls playing football through the power of Disney storytelling.

UEFA and Disney have come together to create an initiative which aims to inspire young girls to start playing football.

The Playmakers initiative will harness Disney’s power of storytelling in a football environment as young footballers will be encouraged to play the roles of their favourite characters such as Anna from Frozen or Elastigirl from the Incredibles.

The programme will be targeted at 5-8-year-old girls who are not currently involved in football.

Playmakers will be used in Scottish schools, clubs and local communities as football training will step into the magic world of Disney.

Scotland has joined 22 other national associations in the hope the Playmakers initiative will increase the proportion of girls meeting the World Health Organisation’s minimum standards for physical activity.

‘Initiative will benefit more than 1,000 girls’

Scottish FA head of girls’ and women’s football Fiona McIntyre said: “UEFA Playmakers in partnership with Disney is a programme we are passionate about in Scotland as we believe its unique style and format will be of great benefit to young girls across the country and ignite their interest to play football.

“After the programme had to be put on hold last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I am now delighted to see UEFA Playmakers be rolled out across the country.

It is hoped 1,000 girls in Scotland will benefit from the programme within its first year

“Participation numbers have grown by a third since 2016 and programmes like this will only help us improve that figure and have more girls out on the pitch enjoying playing the game.

“UEFA are aiming to double girls’ and women’s participation in football across Europe by 2024, which is a goal we in Scotland fully support and through our Football Development department we look forward to seeing girls across the country become empowered by Disney and football.”

It is hoped that the Playmakers initiative will benefit more than 1,000 girls within its first year as Scotland look to develop the future generation of football stars.

Programme ‘perfect to engage’ with young girls

Scotland Women’s National Team defender Rachael Boyle believes young girls like her daughter will reap the benefits from the Playmakers initiative.

Boyle said: “As a proud mother, I am excited by the Playmakers programme as I think it will be a great tool in increasing the number of girls on football pitches across the country.

“When I was younger I loved Disney and, even now, I still enjoy watching all the movies with my daughter. Seeing how inspired she is by all of the characters, coupled with her early interest of football, you can tell this programme will be perfect to engage the interest of young girls.

“Hopefully the programme catches the imagination of girls across the country and they reap the benefits of it.

“When I was younger I had to play with boys teams and there were never any opportunities like this. It’s amazing that girls in Scotland will have the chance to begin their footballing journey in such a fun way and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have.”

Parents interested in Playmakers can sign up here.

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