by Mitchell Craig
SOUTHERN Cross University welcomed two talented soccer players when Newcastle Jets W-League stars Tara Andrews and Courtnee Vine visited as part of Female Football Week.
Organised by Northern NSW Football in conjunction with Football Far North Coast, the two Newcastle stars visited schools in Casino before a stop at Lennox Head soccer club and Lismore's SCU Football Centre.
The week aimed to encourage women and girls of all ages to participate in the sport, said Football Far North Coast general manager Steve Mackney.
"Although female participation in this region exceeds the national average of 24 per cent, there is a lot more that can be done to support girls-only teams and female participation generally” Mackney said.
While visiting SCU, Andrews and Vine spent an afternoon training with some of the region's best young female players, observing and taking part in training with 30 players from the Liverpool International Academy Girls Program.
It was a great opportunity, said academy general manager Scott Collis.
"We are very grateful to have two such wonderful ambassadors for the game visit us,” Collis said.
"Our players and coaches had a chance not only to meet two girls playing at the highest level in Australia but also ask them questions on their journey.
"Until last year there was no full-time girls' program in our region.
"Now thanks to Southern Cross University and Football Far North Coast, we have three squads training each week under a dedicated team of coaches.
"We hope opportunities like this inspire the girls in our program and encourage other girls to join in.”