Doreen United Soccer Club has one priority this year: achieving an even split of males and females at the club.
The club, which is based at Painted Hills Recreation Reserve, has about 300 members, with 15 per cent girls and no senior women’s team.
Committee member and kids’ coach Michael Trim said the club was on a mission to change this, and was planning several new programs designed to encourage females to give soccer a go.
The club will also host a free come-and-try session on Sunday 28 March for This Girl Can Week.
“Our whole aim is to go 50/50 in the split of males and females at the club – across players, coaches and volunteers,” he said.
“There’s about 40 junior girls playing at the moment – we don’t have a senior team at the moment, that’s what we’re trying to get going. And unfortunately we only have one female coach at the moment, but we do have four female committee members.”
Michael said the club was planning several new female-friendly programs, including a walking group, soccer-themed fitness classes with a personal trainer, and a women’s social soccer group which he hoped would be a launching pad for a competitive team.
“The aim is that enough females get the bug and want to go competitive,” he said.
The club also hopes to grow more junior girls’ teams, having only four now.
They have also recently launched a walking soccer program – a modified, slower-pace version of the game, ideal for seniors and those with limited mobility.
Michael said women were often dissuaded from playing soccer because they were juggling families and had a lack of time, and felt guilty spending money on themselves – so the club was aiming to keep costs low.
“Peer pressure as well – we're trying to see if we can organise an area where there’s no males around, so they feel fully confident with what they’re doing,” he said.
He said Sunday’s come-and-try session would be a “light and fun way” to see what happens at the club.
“We’re going to set up some basic drills – we're going to do some passing, some dribbling, some shooting,” he said.
“There’s going to be lots of similar people, it’s a no-pressure thing. It’s not like there’s going to be 100 eyes looking at them. We just want to try and make everyone feel confident and just have some fun, that’s the most important thing.”
And, with the FIFA Women’s World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2023, there’s never been a better time to take up soccer.
“The next two years is going to be a good time to get everybody on board and do lots of things leading into the World Cup,” he said.