The Royal Belgium Federation will take part in a project mounted by the European Football Federation, UEFA, in collaboration with Disney to get more girls to play football, the Belgian federation announced on Thursday.
The Playmakers Project is a key programme of the UEFA. It will enable girls aged five to eight years, who do not yet play football, to discover an environment in which their imaginations can develop through Disney stories. Playmakers’ target is doubling the number of girls playing football by the year 2024.
Unlike traditional football programmes, each of Playmakers ten initial training sessions follow the narrative of Disney and Pixar’s billion dollar global box office smash hit, Incredibles 2. Equipped with footballs, bibs and cones, trained coaches encourage participants to play the roles of popular characters, such as Elastigirl, Violet, Mr Incredible and Dash, bringing the film’s action scenes to life through movement, teamwork and their imagination.
“Thanks to Playmakers we’ll be able to open up football to a public that is not yet familiar with our sport,” UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin explained. “Disney is a storytelling brand beyond compare and, together, we have created a programme designed for these girls, that is both inspiring and stimulating.”
The project is seen as a great opportunity for the Belgian federation. “Research shows that by adopting a positive approach to coaching based on the stories, and being collaborative and non-competitive, interest in participation goes up,” Ceferin said.
“Our coaches have committed to adopting the programme and we are waiting impatiently for the launch of the sessions throughout the country in early 2020,” said Katrien Jans, manager of women’s football at the Belgian Football Federation.
The Playmakers Project grew out of a study by the University of Leeds Beckett that showed the main needs, wishes and motivations that young girls have to discover football in an amusing manner.
Playmakers will be launched in seven countries before being rolled out across Europe. These are Austria, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Romania and Serbia.
A total of 30 clubs are taking part in the project in Belgium.