QBE Sydney Swans Academy has launched a Youth Girls Program for the next generation of female footballers during a VIP event at the SCG.
The program is the first of its kind and offers elite training for 130 12 and 13-year-old girls, starting from 30 April. It follows last year’s inaugural season of the AFLW.
QBE Australia and New Zealand Chief Customer Officer Bettina Pidcock said QBE was thrilled to support the ambition of emerging female athletes.
“As a proud partner of the Sydney Swans for the past 32 years, we’re excited to nurture the skills of our female athletes at this grassroots level. We’re also excited about the prospects this brings to AFL, increasing participation and interest in the game.”
Sydney Swans CEO and Managing Director Andrew Ireland said the club is excited about welcoming the first intake of girls for the twelve-week program.
“Our Youth Girls Program aims to strengthen female participation and provide a pathway for female footballers – and certainly we hope to see some of these girls running out in a Sydney Swans AFLW team in the future,” he said.
Pidcock said the club’s strong values will be carried forward by the up-and-coming female talent.
“In the tradition of the Swans, the Academy will foster strong, focused athletes who will be role models for future intakes to the Academy’s Youth Girls Program, setting an example both on and off the field.”
The initial intake of girls will continue along a talent pathway to under-18s, with the Academy expected to tailor programs for additional age groups each year as it grows.
The program will be coached by Mark Richardson and the girls will also receive guidance from mentors including former Olympians Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Nicola “Ziggy” Zagame. It will be delivered across three metropolitan training hubs in Moore Park, northern Sydney and southern Sydney.