The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) launched its first all-girls training centre for its Cubs programme at Queensway Secondary School on Sunday.
Despite a downpour, more than 40 primary-school girls, aged between seven and 12, showed up and participated in two 90-minute sessions.
They were divided into three age-groups. Those aged between six and eight took part in the first session (8-9.30am) while older students (9-10 years and 11-12 years) trained in separate groups from 9.30 to 11am.
Besides learning how to pass, dribble and kick the ball, the girls also played a variety of ball games.
Said Julie Teo, general manager of the FAS' grassroots and women's football department: "This is the first time I have seen so many girls in Singapore gathering to learn to play football.
"We had feared that the thunderstorm would keep them away and I think some kids didn't turn up because of the bad weather.
"But, thankfully, the rain cleared up before the start of the first session at 8am. And I am happy to see so many kids and their parents here today. Let's hope the number will continue to grow over the next few weeks."
It costs $50 to sign up for the first month. The fees include insurance and a set of football attire (jersey, shorts and socks). Subsequently, the monthly fee is $24.
The training centre at Margaret Drive is the second Cubs programme grassroots football centre to be launched by the FAS. The first was at Sembawang Primary two weeks ago. However, the Queensway Secondary centre takes in only girls.
Said Teo: "All our other centres will be opened to both boys and girls. But we thought it would be good to also have one catering specifically to girls.
"This will help us to expand our base of primary-school girls learning to play football. Those who are really talented may even go on to play for Queensway in the national schools girls football championships."
Queensway Secondary usually finish in the top four in the C and B Division tournaments and won their first B Division title last Wednesday.
Madam Koshima Chan signed up her daughters Alethea, eight, and Alaina, 10, for the programme.
She noted: "They love football very much and watch matches with their father quite often. We have been searching for a football programme like this for some time now.
"They are clearly enjoying themselves and it is also a good opportunity for them to get some exercise."
Added Radin Mas Primary pupil Shereen Danial, 11: "My family introduced me to the sport and I started playing it when I was seven. I have a brother who trains with the National Football Academy U-15 squad and I hope to represent Singapore like him in future."
The FAS will be opening its third centre at Serangoon Stadium in June. It will offer training on Saturdays.
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