ANZA Soccer’s girls’ teams excelled in the 2018-19 Season. MARK SAYER, ANZA Soccer Girls’ Programme Coordinator reports on their remarkable team spirit, enthusiasm and results.
During the 2018–19 season, ANZA Soccer had over 110 girls from ages 6-16
participate in girls-only teams against mixed and predominantly boys’ teams in the ANZA Saturday leagues. We fielded one Matildas team per age group, and the girls played one or two years “down” according to age and skill, following generally accepted soccer practice, to allow an even playing field against the boys.
The weekly participation at weekday training and Saturday games was very high, with every player continuing to improve due to passionate parent coaches, as well as the addition of Adelina Gomez, a dedicated professional coach for the Matildas. The younger Matildas are great to watch as their enthusiasm reminds me of my daughter when she joined five years ago – it’s all about having fun!
The Navy Matildas excelled by winning the U11 Saturday league, displaying great teamwork, a strong work ethic, and the ability to consistently execute their game structure. Opposition coaches often commented on how impressed they were with the Matildas’ disciplined team approach, rather than the “flock to the ball” approach of many young players.
The Matildas competition teams had a stellar year, with almost every tournament resulting in gold. In January, our U12, U14, and U16 teams competed in the Bangkok International Girls Football Competition, a 7-a-side event with 8 to 12 teams per age group. The U14s (Navy & Gold Matildas) defended their title, winning a very tough final against the Bangkok-based Nongchok Tigers. After a 1-1 draw at full time, the Matildas scored in the 3-versus-3 sudden death finale, a brutal and exhausting way to decide the championship! Both the U16s (SkyBlue Matildas) and U12s (Navy & Red Matildas) were semifinalists. The 30 girls and their parents provided great support for each other, and the players’ behavior on and off the pitch was exemplary. Their team comradery was shown when one of the U14 girls suffered concussion on the Saturday due to a head-on-head collision. Returning from hospital that evening, she found her shared hotel room filled with gifts, cards, and balloons, all at the girls’ initiative, as they rushed to the mall after the last round-robin game. They “won for Kim” the next day.
JSSL International 7s
In April, the largest junior football tournament in Southeast Asia, the JSSL International 7s was held in Singapore. In addition to the fantastic U14 and U16 Matildas’ wins, victories for our U12 and U16 boys’ teams enabled ANZA to win the overall Paul Parker Trophy. The U16 Matildas also competed in the tournament’s Professional 7s and made their opponents from Liverpool’s youth academy work hard for their closely fought win. The JSSL Girls Sunday League was held throughout the season. Our girls’ competition teams played against other Singapore-based teams, and the season ended with a resounding victory for our U14s, a come-from-behind victory for the U12s in their final match, and a second-place finish for the U16s.
SingaCup Womens 6s
Finally, the SingaCup Womens 6s was held in May, and once again our U14s were victorious, as were our U16s, while our U12s lost in a penalty shootout in the final. Playing against mixed teams on Saturdays prepares the Matildas well for girls-only competitions by honing their game plans, their resilience, and their team spirit. This unity amongst the girls and their parents is unparalleled and is a key determinant in our success.
Registration is now open for ANZA Soccer 2019/2020 season for kids aged 3-18 years.
The season begins on 24 August and finishes 25 April 2020.
Sign up now at anza.org.sg/sports/soccer