For years girls’ developmental soccer has become a staple for young ladies of all ages to spend their Saturday afternoons growing in the sport of soccer.
This past Saturday, October 6 the Girls’ Developmental Soccer League, spearheaded by the island’s soccer power couple, Donnie and Mary Knowles, resumed play at the YMCA Soccer Field. Scores of young ladies showed up ready and eager for another year of skills progression.
As noted by Coach Donnie, one of the central themes of this year would be to revive the interest in soccer among young ladies. He admitted that while this past weekend’s attendance left them feeling positive about the future of the programme; however, they also realized there is still much more work to be done.
“We’re kind of between surprised and not surprised, because you know last year the numbers were down due to the hurricane the from the year before,” he explained. “Now, for the first day, we have so much girls out. It’s amazing how so much girls signed up for the first day and are very enthusiastic and hoping to learn the sport of soccer.
“You know the girls always achieve greatness, because their mindset is to achieve greatness. That’s what the girls always try to achieve. We see it all the time with the girls.”
While Saturday’s numbers left the coaches in a good place, they are confident that once the girls continue to share their experiences, they should see an increase in registrants on a weekly basis. The programme runs each and every Saturday from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., just hours after the YMCA’s Grassroots Developmental Programme concludes.
And while the soccer programme helps the young ladies to sharpen their competitive edge, Coach Donnie added that holistically, the girls learn a lot more about life and finding themselves through the sport.
“We’re happy to be partners with the YMCA and to be community minded. In soccer we try to help the girls not only with sports, but with confidence through sports, friendship and all those good things.”
As a welcomed addition to the Girls’ Development Programme, Coach Donnie shared that they have partnered with the Eight Mile Rock High School to be a big part of the programme.
“We partnered with Eight Mile Rock High, and the principal (Chester Cooper) has generously made the bus available for the girls that wanted to play soccer. We assist the driver for his time to bring the girls down and stay with them to take them back up.
“That’s an awesome programme, because it also gives the girls who are outside of Freeport a chance to be a part of this programme. We are talking with two other schools – one in Pinder’s Point and another one in Eight Mile Rock. So, hopefully, we will be able to reach out to the outer skirts of Freeport and make this a Grand Bahama Programme rather than just people in Freeport.
“We’re very thankful for Eight Mile Rock coming on board with us and continuing to make that a very big part of our programme.”
The Girls’ Grassroots League is where it all begins for the girls, as the Grand Bahama Champions League would be the next step for the girls to take their skills and compete on a higher level.
“Ultimately, we have the Champions League where we have the older girls playing. So, the Grassroots is where we develop the girls and hopefully, they develop their skills – the ones who take it more seriously – we get them into the Champions League.
“We’re just trying to give these girls the opportunity to play and have fun and develop their skills. Hopefully, they develop enough where they’re able to play in the Champions League. From there, the girls who are more serious can work on their school work and also work on their soccer skills, so they can put themselves in a position to probably get a scholarship to go to school; and to also play on the National Team. That’s some of the things available to them if they apply themselves.
“We’re looking for a great season, because the girls can have those kinds of opportunities to look forward to,” he concluded.
For registration information interested youngsters can contact the YMCA.