The FAI was selected by UEFA to be one of the first national associations to trial an innovative approach to engaging young girls in football.

In Partnership with the best in the business, the UEFA Disney Playmakers Programme has not unsurprisingly been a hit.

800 girls five to eight year olds have taken part in 29 clubs across the country and the hope is that the experience was one that will turn them into lifelong players and fans.

The true success of this can only be measured over time but the resources are there to track the player’s life in football like never before.

Playmakers employs an innovative storytelling approach featuring Disney characters to help more girls see the fun in regular physical exercise and football.

“We are absolutely delighted with how Year One of the UEFA Disney Playmakers Programme has gone,” said Pearl Slattery, Programme Coordinator for Women’s Football at the FAI.


“This was a new initiative from UEFA to support National Associations to connect with girls at younger age groups through storytelling, introducing life skills and developing football basics.”

“We have had over 800 girls take part and the hope would be that this positive experience will lead them to lifelong participation in our sport.

“We would like to thank all of the clubs who hosted the Programme for their superb work and support to make it as successful as it has been. We look forward to expanding the Programme around the country in 2022.”

“The programme was a very positive experience for our club,” added Derek O’Kelly, Child Welfare Officer at Ballyoulster United, one of the clubs that ran it.

“One of the main things that stood out was the inclusion of life skills.”

“We know from the evidence that one of the reasons girls play football is for personal development. This makes the programme a win-win as the skills needed to improve outcomes in life such as confidence, resilience, positivity and leadership, are the same ones needed to improve outcomes in sport.”

“We would have every confidence that the Disney programme will lead to increased participation and retention of young girls in football.”


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