A twelve-week program that supports the ambition of emerging female footballers has been launched with the support of major insurer QBE.
Following last year's inaugural season of the AFLW, the QBE Sydney Swans Academy Youth Girls Program was officially launched at a VIP event at the SCG. Starting April 30, the program will provide 130 12- and 13-year-old girls with elite football training.
The program will be delivered across three metropolitan training hubs in Moore Park, northern Sydney, and southern Sydney, with Mark Richardson as coach. The girls will also receive guidance from mentors including former Olympians Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Nicola Zagame.
“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,” said Bettina Pidcock, chief customer officer at QBE Australia and New Zealand. “We’re also excited about the prospects this brings to AFL, increasing participation and interest in the game. QBE congratulates all the girls in this inaugural team. We’re so pleased to welcome you to the QBE and Swans family.”
Andrew Ireland, Sydney Swans CEO and managing director, said the club is excited to welcome the first batch of participants for the 12-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,” Ireland said.
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.