Gatton Redbacks putting girls on the right path
FOOTBALL: The Gatton Redbacks are carrying on their crusade to build better pathways for women in football, this time by starting at the bottom.
When Football Queensland South West pushed for more junior girls' sides at the start of the year, the club took it on board as a compulsory initiative.
With the interest and numbers there, they set up an all-girls side - Under-6 Red - but soon fond out it wasn't compulsory at all.
Out of the 36 under-6 teams that fall under the governing body's jurisdiction, Gatton was the only club with such a side.
Despite finding out they would be coming up against all-boys and mixed sides, the club made the call to keep the six youngsters together for the season.
Coach Adam Halstead said although they had yet to pick up a win from their first three games this season, his team were making big strides.
"They've scored goals in every game, they show a lot of ticker,” coach Adam Halstead said.
Their 45 minute training sessions are focussed on implementing the fundamentals of the game and while attention spans might be short, the passion for football is strong and the group have already developed a close bond.
"They're pretty dedicated, they turn up each week, train hard and give it to the boys,” he said.
"The other week we played a pretty rough team, they held their own, they don't back down or shy off.”
Gatton is also the only club in the Toowoomba competition with two senior women's sides.
"This is the first time we've had an all-girls junior side at the club, I think,” Halstead said.
"It's about making a pathway for the women in the competition. We have 68 girls on our books at the soccer club... to have 68 out of 270 players, that's a pretty high percentage.”
He believed all-girl junior sides, numbers permitting, should be mandatory.
"It's a great initiative and I think it should be enforced if club have the numbers to keep the girls in the sport to create that pathway into senior levels,” he said.
"While the numbers are there for Gatton, we're going to implement that.”