Girls Kerr-razy for soccer ahead of World Cup

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Junior soccer players Megan Orr, Sienna Owen, Amber Orr, Melina Franklin, Arna Franklin, Mikayla Owen and McKenna Wingard are looking forward to the Women’s World Cup.
Camera IconJunior soccer players Megan Orr, Sienna Owen, Amber Orr, Melina Franklin, Arna Franklin, Mikayla Owen and McKenna Wingard are looking forward to the Women’s World Cup. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

The time difference to France might stop local girls seeing Sam Kerr’s backflip celebrations as they happen, but the Matildas’ tilt at the FIFA Women’s World Cup is tipped to have a flow-on effect on female participation.

The Matildas kick off their World Cup campaign this Sunday against Italy in the middle of a thriving local soccer season where girls already make up one-third of participation numbers in the Albany Junior Soccer Association.

The blockbuster clash with Italy kicks off at 7pm, but Australia’s remaining group stage games start at midnight or later.

AJSA president Grace Knowlson believes idols such as superstar striker and captain Kerr would inspire the next generation and continue the growth in women’s soccer.

“Any kind of world cup of any sport gets people up and going and generates and gees them up to become interested in the sport,” she said.

A trademark Sam Kerr goal celebration.
Camera IconA trademark Sam Kerr goal celebration. Credit: Getty Images

“We hope that will filter through and the girls will start having stars and players to look up to and aspire to be. Hopefully they will make it one day and give it a go in the meantime.”

Ms Knowlson said girls currently played with the boys in the AJSA but there were female-dominant teams which was a great sign for the future.

“We operate all inclusive — that is our motto, so to speak, in that we want everyone to be inclusive in the sport from juniors all the way up to under-17s,” she said.

“The likes of Sam Kerr give it that extra sparkle. The girls do see her and she is quite high profile for female soccer so hopefully they watch and want to be a part of it.”

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