The Parade Ground in Grand Turk, on Friday, November 11, was illuminated with vibrant pink jerseys – the color symbolizing an intense growing passion for female football within these islands.
The occasion was the first ever All Girls Football Festival put on by the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association (TCIFA) in conjunction with Cargo Express.
The programmed included the Under 6, Under 8, Under 12 and Under 16.
The event connected female students from the Ona Glinton Primary, Eliza Simons Primary and HJ Robinson High schools. Participants enjoyed a range of activities focusing on different football skills, including match-play, led by coaches from the TCIFA.
The project was the brainchild of Olivia Gravely, TCIFA’s Assistant to the Women’s Football Director. She was elated with the strong turnour.
“It was fantastic to see so many girls showing up with so much enthusiasm in playing football. It was a great opportunity for us to introduce the sport to girls who had never played before, teaching them new skills and rules of the game; but most importantly allowing them to have fun playing football, all whilst forging new friendships,” Gravely said.
Carl Simmons, Director of Cargo Express Services stated that he was a great admirer of the way the TCIFA has been promoting football across the country.
“The TCIFA continues to advance the sport of Football nationally and internationally, to include various competing age groups and genders in achieving success.
“The Cargo Express Services family is proud to support the efforts of the TCIFA and congratulates the organizers for the many successes that they have achieved over the years.
“As a corporate sponsor, we are committed in supporting their efforts to promote the competitive and exciting sport of football. As a proud sponsor of the recently held Girls Football Festival in Grand Turk, we are elated that this successful event was fully embraced by the community,” Simmons said.
For her part, President of the TCIFA, Sonia Fulford Misick said the entity continues to canvass the support of the local community, especially parents, as part of its drive to boost participation.
“We are incredibly proud of the support we received,” Fulford Missick said.
She added: “TCIFA has been working extremely hard over the years to increase participation by women and girls in football. This festival has clearly shown the enthusiasm there is on the island of Grand Turk from young girls when they are offered the opportunity to participate in sports in general, and football in particular.
“The TCIFA is doing its part to ensure the game is an attractive for girls and women and assist in increasing girls’ confidence that football is in-fact a sport for them whilst simultaneously showcasing positive role models- both of which are crucial. The idea that football is only a sport for boys has been gradually eroding away.
“Everyone has the power in helping to break the mindset that football is a predominantly male sport, and parents can encourage their daughters to discover more about the sport if they, too, show interest, whether it be through watching matches together, signing up their children for weekly football training, or attending their training sessions and events. Football is for all.”
In conjunction with the Girls Football Festival, and in partnership with Cargo Express Services, TCIFA’s #GOAM (Girls on a Mission) hosted its first #PUFP (Pick Up for Progress) campaign on Front Street, Grand Turk.
The campaign is an initiative to support the clean-up of litter or improperly disposed bulk items in areas such as roadside, beaches, parks, and outdoor recreational spaces, with an aim to protect the environment and supporting people in the communities.
“The TCIFA said #GOAM is also geared to promote the empowerment of young girls and women through projects and workshops, and are guided by the principles of community-service. With the role of women growing day by day, women’s movement is spreading wider in all contexts.
“TCIFA recognizes that the rise of women leaders is hugely a success of organizations continuing to encourage girls and women to participate in all aspects.
“#GOAM envisions a community engaged in positive change, transformed by service. The programme’s vision is to promote caring and inclusive communities that respect, empower, and value all people to lead better quality lives.
#GOAM aims to engage in analysing and addressing community concerns, explore ways of building strong relationships at various levels of society, and expand footprint with increased support that reaches the length and breadth of the “Beautiful by Nature” Turks and Caicos Islands,” the FA said in a statement.