Southland United U12 girls football team on front foot

Southland United U12 Girls team member Maddie Taylor competing for the ball at the Invercargill U12 Cup. Photo: Monica Toretto

A TEAM of Southland footballers are seeing success after winning the division 2 U12 Invercargill Cup.

Coach Kate Bunting said Southland United introduced the Southland United Girls’ Development Programme for 12th and 14th Grade this year. “They are committed to developing girls’ and women’s football in Southland and encouraged female coaches to apply for the positions. Not only is this committing to grow players, but also female coaches.”

She started coaching the Southland United U12 Girls team in April, along with assistant Leeann Duston.

“We are learning so much with the opportunity given to us and it is helping us grow as coaches too.”

The girls won all three games on September 7, and on September 8 won the semi-finals and finals to win the cup. “The girls played with so much passion in the final. They were hungry for the win, they played for each other and fought until the very end when they took out the win just on full-time – a well-placed penalty by Maisy McDonald.”

Most teams were all boys, she said, and the girls’ hard work in the past months had paid off.

“The girls have bonded so much during this time and you can see this on the football pitch by the way they play together. You’d think the whole team has been playing together for years.”

The team will head to Blenheim for the South Island U12 Girls Tournament at the end of the month.

The team who played and won the division 2 Invercargill U12 Cup: Back ? Leeann Duston (assistant coach), Maddie Taylor, Sarah Wilson, Maisy McDonald, Grace Pilsworth, Lucy Dermody, Ruby Jackson, Ruby Barton, Kate Bunting (coach) Front ? Charlotte Stanley, Ella Graham, Anna Williams, Hannah Hargest, Lily Beal, Isla Smith. Photo: Monica Toretto