The Fremantle Football Club have continued their strong investment in female football through a newly formed partnership with IGSSA to help further promote and develop women’s football in WA.
The Club’s partnership with the Independent Girls’ Schools’ Sports Association (IGSSA) highlights the importance of developing junior female football to ensure the continual growth of the sport in WA and establish a clear pathway for talent to progress.
IGSSA is made up of eight schools consisting of Iona, Presbyterian Ladies College, Perth College, St Hilda’s, Methodist Ladies College, Santa Maria, Penrhos College and St Marys, with 40 teams ranging from year 7 to year 12.
The Club has committed to support IGSSA with resources for the annual IGSSA Dockers Competition with Fremantle’s AFLW talent on hand to support.
Fremantle AFLW captain Hayley Miller said the resources available to young female footballers has developed in leaps and bounds since her rise through the ranks to the AFLW.
“To have partnerships like this is only going to build women’s football at that community level and it’s going to filter through to, hopefully, our AFLW team in the future,” Miller said.
“For a long time we didn’t have these sort of programs and a lot of girls had to stop playing footy when they got to a certain age. These girls get to go all the way through…and you will be able to see the benefits of these programs.
“Some of the skills we have seen so far are just phenomenal.
“I remember myself back at that age and I was nowhere near as good as these girls, so it’s exciting to see the pathway coming through.”
The legacy of developing and growing female community football stems from Fremantle’s strong connection to grassroots football, with the IGSSA partnership just another opportunity to solidify this commitment
AFLW midfielder and the Club’s newest Female NGA Coach Gabby O’Sullivan said that it was exciting to have Freo jump onboard to help support and upskill both players and teachers alike.
“It’s a great opportunity for the Club to strengthen their investment in female football,” O’Sullivan said.
“The more support we can give now, the better off female footy is going to be in the future.
“By doing things like this, more girls are keen to jump onboard and get involved in footy.”
Fremantle’s investment will also provide coaching resources to conduct IGSSA All-Stars Team trials, assisting with the selection of the final 25 players to represent IGSSA at the annual All-Stars Football Carnival.
The IGSSA All Stars compete in a uniquely designed FFC and IGSSA branded player uniform/strip each year, with staff and players also provided with uniforms to proudly display the association between the two organisations.
The Club will provide expertise in delivering coach education workshops for all teachers that coach the football teams in the IGSSA Dockers Competition, providing insight to coaching junior female participants by utilising coaching staff from the Fremantle’s AFLW program and community coaching department.
Fremantle AFLW Senior Coach Trent Cooper highlighted that this aspect of the partnership is pivotal to developing competencies of individual players and coaches, which in turn increases the quality of the competition.
“IGSSA was a bit of an untapped resource with a lot of good athletes,” Cooper said.
“There are really good teachers as well that we can help with their coaching to help bring these players through to the next level.
“For a lot of these female athletes, they play different sports and AFL isn’t necessarily their first sport, but they are getting a taste of it.
“We think we can see some good AFLW footballers out of it in the years to come, and if not, we just hope to see some girls enjoy their footy for a really long time.”