Following on from the roaring success and history-making first year of the AFLW, the momentum continues, with QBE and the Sydney Swans establishing a new QBE Sydney Swans Youth Girls Academy. The Academy is designed to help pave the way for young elite female footballers in NSW.
With record crowds and fiercely-contested footy, the urgent demand for further development of the pipeline of talent for the women’s competition has been made clear.
The new arm of the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, announced by the Swans late last week, will commence in 2018 and offer a 140-place elite training program for 12 and 13-year-old girls.
QBE Australia and New Zealand Executive General Manager of Marketing Bettina Pidcock said the insurance giant was thrilled to help provide girls across NSW an elite football talent pathway.
“Fostering female talent is something very important to us at QBE, and we know the incredibly positive impact sport can have on young girls, so we couldn’t be more proud to be part of the establishment of the QBE Sydney Swans Youth Girls Academy,” she said.
“QBE has been behind the Academy since its inception in 2010 and our partnership with the Swans spans more than 30 years – so this is yet another great achievement we can celebrate together.”
Sydney Swans CEO and Managing Director Andrew Ireland said the Academy was an exciting development and the Club was grateful for QBE’s support.
“The establishment of our Youth Girls Academy would not have been possible without our long-time partner behind us.
“We’re really proud of the impact our QBE Sydney Swans Academy has already had on not only talent outcomes for New South Wales, but also on increasing participation and interest in our game.
“We’re confident our Youth Girls Academy will deliver similar outcomes and help increase the local talent pool of female footballers.”
The initial intake of girls will be able to continue along a talent pathway through to under-18s, with the Academy set to grow each year by tailoring a program to additional age groups.
Trials for potential participants begin in September of this year, and it’s anticipated the Youth Girls program will eventually grow to more than 500 participants, according to a Swans’ statement.