Republic of Ireland Women's National Team star Áine O’Gorman helped launch the Soccer Sisters programme
Aviva Ireland and the Football Association of Ireland have launched the Aviva Soccer Sisters Virtual Skills Hub programme for 2021, specially designed for girls to take part in during the upcoming Easter break. The free online initiative was launched today by Republic of Ireland Women's National Team player Áine O'Gorman, as part of Aviva’s Safe To Dream Team campaign.
Aware of the impact the pandemic is having on children with additional needs in particular, Aviva’s Soccer Sisters Camp will work alongside the FAI’s Football For All programme for the first time, providing skills videos inclusive of children with additional needs to develop as footballers. The skills videos include adaptions developed by FAI Football for All development officers to ensure the online hub is inclusive for all.
Aviva Ireland strongly believes that everyone should get the chance to play regardless of their abilities. Sport is for everyone – and everyone should feel welcome and ‘safe to dream’ regardless of their abilities or gender.
The Aviva Soccer Sisters Virtual Skills Hub will offer a range of in-depth videos and walkthroughs of key skills and drills during the Easter Break from Monday, March 29 to Friday, April 2. To take part in and be in with a chance to win prizes, and receive discounts on car and home insurance, families and clubs across Ireland are invited to sign up at www.aviva.ie/safetodreamteam. Once parents register for the Safe To Dream team and upload a video of their child partaking in the virtual skills hub, they will receive a free Aviva Soccer Sisters backpack.
As proud sponsors of the Women’s National Football team, Aviva Ireland is keen to support the development of the women’s game across the country, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. Aviva Ireland understands the importance of ensuring children across Ireland can continue to improve their skills and knowledge. The Safe To Dream Team is an online hub which aims to improve access for young people on their sporting journey within clubs or at home, through online skills videos, and advice and support from leading sports ambassadors.
Research commissioned by Aviva in February of this year underlines the importance of providing coaching and support services for children across Ireland. Some 37% of Leinster parents agree that their children’s coaches have been a source of encouragement or inspiration for them, and 25% feel that they need some help with appropriate skills and techniques to help their children continue to pursue their sporting dreams.
The research also highlighted that while 53% of Leinster children don’t mention any distinction between male and female sports, only 48% of children in the province have a female sporting role model. Only 31% of adults in Leinster have brought their children to a women’s game, compared to 54% for a men’s game. It is similar for watching sport on TV with 61% of adults in the province agreeing that their children watch men’s sport on tv but only 43% saying the same for women’s sport. With over one third of Irish parents concerned their daughter will drop out of sport as they enter their teenage years, the research highlights the need for increased support for women’s sport, particularly during adolescence in Ireland.
"It has never been more important to provide a platform for young girls to learn and develop new skills," said Republic of Ireland Women's National Team star, Áine O’Gorman. "It has been a very difficult period for everyone, and I know children across the country cannot wait to return to training and enjoy their football. With the launch of the Aviva Safe To Dream team Soccer Sisters new skills videos, I am really looking forward to seeing young girls all over the country getting involved and sharing their own videos."
Her points were echoed by Republic of Ireland Women's National Team Manager Vera Pauw, who highlighted the importance of staying fit and active.
"It is very important that children, especially young girls, continue to challenge themselves during these times to stay fit and active," she said. "It is fantastic to have the AVIVA Soccer Sisters Virtual Skills Hub back again this year as it helps so many children to practice their skills whilst still being at home and respecting the HSE guidelines during this period. Taking part in sport is a great way to maintain fitness and to feel good.
"Football should be fun and that is what this programme is all about. It was great to see so many videos last year of those who took part in the Skills Hub and I'm sure they will once again make the most of this exciting opportunity to further develop their skills and play with a smile on their face."
Lisa Bergin Sponsorship Manager, Aviva Ireland said: "Aviva is proud to partner with the FAI to provide the Aviva Soccer Sisters Virtual Hub for young girls over the Easter break. The research released today highlights that nearly one in four parents feel that they need some help with appropriate skills and techniques to help their child continue to pursue their sporting dreams. Working alongside the FAI’s Football For All programme, we have created a range of new skills videos inclusive of children with additional needs to develop as footballers. As proud supporters of grassroots football in Ireland, we are delighted to support parents nationwide by creating a safe space, where children of all abilities can pursue their dreams."
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