The Soccer Sister’s Festivals run by FFS are Women’s Football promotional days which run all year round to develop and increase participation of women and girls in football.
This month’s festival will also be used as a tool to educate the participants about breast cancer and its causes as well as the fight against Breast Cancer in Samoa, “We are in the month of Breast Cancer awareness; therefore it’s an excellent way for us to promote Women’s football and work together to promote cancer awareness through health and fitness activities” stated FFS Women’s Football Development Officer Lynette Faaiuaso.
In 2012 the FFS held the first ever Soccer Sisters Festival to attract girls and women interested in playing the sport. After 3 festivals were held the FFS was able to kick off its first ever Girls Youth League which is now in its second season. The participation of women and young girls in the festivals and the league is also a testament to the efforts of FFS to address gender issues and to encourage girls and mothers of all ages to socialise, keep fit and enjoy football.
With the support of the FIFA Women’s Football Development program & OFC, this year the FFS were able to give out pink FIFA t-shirts and wrist bands to all participants. The participants were also using brand new equipment donated by FIFA for the festivals including bibs, balls, goals and markers.
The Festival started with an opening prayer by Rev. Muao Su’a followed by remarks from the Cancer Society President Leiataua Daryl Clarke. Hon Jackie Frizelle; NZ High Commissioner delivered the keynote address she stated “I am a football mum who has yelled from the sidelines for the last 15 years and I am also the big sister of a much loved and brave women who is presently fighting against cancer.
She also shared four things that football has taught her about living with cancer, first team work, second, love what you do, take football as your passion, third never give up; I have watched enough football games to know that anything can happen right up until the last whistle blow and seen many games won and loss at the last minute. Fourth is to stay healthy, you are on the right path here today; look after your body through good nutrition and exercise. After her words of encouragement she declared the festival opened.
Following the opening ceremony the CCCS Vaitele Youth group provided cultural entertainment and then all the participants and spectators alike took part in a ZOVA session (footballs version of Zumba). The women and girls were then split into five age groups and coached in football activities and small sided games. The festival closed with prizes and giveaways being handed out to the participants by FFS and the Under 17 National Team final trials kicking off for all to watch.