Girls of Steel set to shine

GIRLS' SOCCER: Steel United soccer player Mia Pedler holding possession of the ball.

GIRLS' SOCCER: Steel United soccer player Mia Pedler holding possession of the ball.

Steel United are hoping to get more girls playing soccer in steel city by creating an all-girls team to play in three grades of the Whyalla Soccer Association.

The Girls of Steel team, which will compete in the Under 6, 8 and 10 grades, is being coached by Kirsty Arbuckle.

Ms Arbuckle says it’s about time more girls got out on the soccer field.

“This is the 40th year that girls have been playing soccer in South Australia – 40 years and Whyalla hasn’t progressed very far aside from allowing girls to play in our mixed teams,” she said.

Ms Arbuckle said there were a good number of young girls enrolling at the lower grades, but those numbers dropped as teams progressed to the higher grades.

“There’s a lot more benefits to a team sport like soccer than just the physical fitness. Girls can build confidence and develop employable skills down the track.

“None of the girls in this team will feel as though they are inferior to boys.

“A lot of girls perceive gender barriers that aren’t actually real.”

There’s a lot more benefits to a team sport like soccer than just the physical fitness.

Kirsty Arbuckle

Ms Arbuckle said the all-girl squad wouldn’t become a reality without community support.

“If a family has a girl who might be interested in playing soccer they should get them to come along and try it out. If we can get girls enjoying soccer they’re likely to bring more friends out to play.”

“We would also love to see more schools put soccer into their curriculum.” 

A total of 20 girls in various age groups have registered their interest to play in the Girls of Steel team.

The team is open from girls aged between 4 and 12 years.

Ms Arbuckle said the age level was ideal for new players because of the more simple rule structure with no offside rule in play.

“Another benefit is that the girls will be playing against boys every week. The physical differences between girls and boys at 10 isn’t very significant where it is at 12,” she said.

“As the girls age out of the Under 10’s and into the Under 12’s they will have the skill set they need to overcome some of that physical disadvantage.”

Training for the all-girls squad will be held at the Steel United clubrooms on Sunday form 10:30 to 11:30am.

Any girls who want to participate are encouraged to come along even if they have not signed up for the team.