The FIFA Women’s World Cup, held in France last month, has already been a highlight of this summer’s sporting calendar, setting TV audience records in the UK with 6.1 million people tuning in for the Scotland England game alone.
The athletes have inspired girls across the world. Megan Rapinoe, USWNT captain, has become a global star grabbing the tournament-winning goal for the USA and the golden boot, while right here in Ayrshire 20-year-old Erin Cuthbert has won an army of fans with her gutsy performance for Scotland.
To ensure that girls inspired by the World Cup had the opportunity to engage in football, the Council’s Active Schools Co-ordinators worked in partnership with the Scottish Football Association and Ayrshire College to deliver free football opportunities through the Jo Love Soccer Centre based at Ayrshire College.
Councillor Elena Whitham, Depute Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “Over 50 girls aged from 5 through to 12 years regularly attend the Jo Love Soccer Centre at Ayrshire College. As part of the programme, which is delivered by an all-female coaching structure, the young people have received tickets to Scotland games and five players were selected to play at Hampden in front of a record crowd of 18,555 when Shelly Kerr’s team took on Jamaica in the world cup warm up games.
“This summer the Jo Love Soccer Centre delivered additional football camps with over 180 young women participating in 18 hours of football. Vibrant Communities and our Catering Services also supported the camps providing free healthy packed lunches to all our young athletes.
“This partnership will ensure the legacy of the Women’s World Cup by giving our young people the opportunity to experience professional coaching within a positive environment. I really hope that the next Erin Cuthbert will be from East Ayrshire.”