AT THE start of the season, the Manly Warringah Football Association decided to introduce three new girls age groups – in the under 8s, 9s and 15s.
It has proven to be a wise move, with numbers healthy across the three age divisions.
The success of the Matildas at the last women’s World Cup was astounding – it had a domino effect, with a number of girls soon wanting to play the world game.
Joe Cruz is the manager of the Mosman under-8 Tornadoes, where his daughter Chloe plays.
“The girls are loving their football every Sunday morning, it is great to see,” he said.
“Like always, the focus is on fun and development.
“The end result isn’t important, it is more about providing an environment for the girls to be comfortable in.
“Some may be intimidated playing with the boys, so these age groups provide the opportunity to develop new friendships and just enjoy each others company.”
Long term, Cruz hopes the squad will stay together.
“Of course some will go and do their own thing, but that’s life,” he said.
“I know personally Chloe is having the time of her life every weekend and at training.
“I would like to think the nucleus will keep on playing, you can see their skills developing.
“I still play myself (in the over-35s with Pennant Hills), so it (football) is in the Cruz family blood.”