The Bis Regional Girls Soccer Carnival was held in Whyalla at the weekend and was recognised as a “huge success” by Football Federation South Australia.
It encouraged girls to play the sport in our regional area, according to one of the organisers, Kirsty Arbuckle.
“More than 80 girls participated in the carnival. We were delighted to be able to have enough girls to enter three Whyalla teams as it meant that no-one who wanted to play was excluded.
“Bis has renewed its sponsorship for a carnival to held next year and travelling teams say they enjoyed the carnival and appreciated the work that we had gone to so that girls can have opportunities to play and will attend again next year.
“The carnival will expand next year with Port Augusta entering a team.
“The feedback from the players was all positive. They were grateful for the opportunity to be playing and, despite the heat, played with energy and enthusiasm all weekend wanting to do themselves and their respective teams and towns proud.
“A lot of players had their own personal achievements. Some scored their first-ever goals, some played their first game and a lot of girls finished the tournament feeling very accomplished and proud to have been part of the carnival.”
During the presentation, all teams stayed to receive their medals and see the tournament come to completion.
It was fantastic to see the players interacting with girls from various teams with smiles on their faces, enjoying the experience.
The aim of the carnival was to increase the number of girls playing soccer in our region and help the girls to gain more experience as players, playing against other females, which it certainly has.
The eagerness for the event to be hosted again and the visiting associations wanting to come back, as well as Port Augusta wanting to be a part of the next one, shows the carnival’s objectives were achieved.
“From Whyalla's perspective, I am proud of Steel United for their initiative to facilitate the carnival and the effort that went into ensuring it ran smoothly,” Kirsty said.
“The purpose of the carnival is to help develop our players and coaches and give the players more experience of tournament-style soccer.
“Our female players are given few opportunities to play against other female players. It makes it difficult for us to see how we are developing as players and teams.
“As coach of the Under 13 Girls Whyalla team at the state and country championships this year, it was encouraging to see the progress and development that the Whyalla team have achieved.
“At State Championships we were beaten by Port Pirie 14-0. We regrouped before the Country Championships and won the next game against them 3-2.
“At the Bis Regional Girls Soccer Carnival we were able to show how much we have improved with the Whyalla Blue side winning 4-0. I am proud of the progress that we are making due to the commitment we have to developing our female players.
“Whyalla Blue had a fantastic tournament and went through the competition undefeated, scoring 19 goals and not conceding a goal in any of the games.
“Whyalla Blue captain Abbey White was leading goal-scorer of the tournament with eight goals. Her partnership with Emily Todd and Maya Perone proved too much for the opposition defenders.”
The Player of the Tournament was Rosie Todd, of Port Pirie, and runner-up player of the tournament was Billie Jenkins, of Port Lincoln.
Whyalla Blue Sweeper, Mia Smith, was recipient of the combined coaches’ vote and won the coaches award after a solid effort of stifling the opposition attacking opportunities.
Port Pirie won the fair play award, narrowly beating Whyalla Green for the honour.
The Whyalla players of the tournament, as picked by their respective coaches were:
- Mia Adams from Whyalla Pink
- Stella Hayes from Whyalla Green
- Emily Todd from Whyalla Blue
The event was attended by Football Federation South Australia representative Jake Brindley who hosted a coaching clinic for 20 girls on Friday night and attended games on Saturday.
He discussed the potential opportunities for the female players next year and beyond. Jake contacted Kirsty after the carnival to congratulate her on the “hugely-successful” event.
“The work you are putting in is certainly being noted and the federation supports you in every way possible to continue developing female football in your region,” he told Kirsty.
"Huge congratulations to you for putting this together and being a true advocate for female football in South Australia.”