"Football is for everyone" and Cup shows women here to stay
WE ARE here to stay.
That was the message from the region's female football players after a packed two days of competition at this year's inaugural Oceania Cup wrapped up last night.
Among the hundreds of players from across Far North Coast and northern New South Wales in action, was Ballina's Kimberley Bell.
The 23-year-old was delighted to have been part of the competition, organised by Alstonville and District Football Club, and aimed at showcase female football talent.
"Football is for everyone," she said.
"I love playing. I find it better than the other girly sports.
"It is usually all about the boys. But it is good to see they have started this tournament.
"This shows there is more (going on) for the girls than before.
"It's great to be a part of it."
Players ranging from under-12s, through to opens, enjoyed the event, which was held at Alstonville's Geoff Watt Oval and Crawford Park pitches.
Striker Brittney Webster was in action for the hosts' grade 14 side.
The 14-year-old said she hoped the event would help further promote the women's game.
"Women don't get the same attention as the men," the Alstonville High School student said. "You hardly see anyone turn up for the women's games.
"That annoys me, because then you have no-one to support you.
"It's good they are doing something like this.
"I like playing teams and meeting new people."
The tournament, which concluded last night with finals in the various age groups, is believed to be one of just two dedicated female football competitions in Australia.
Alstonville and District Football Club treasurer John Noble said he hoped it would highlight the progression of women's football.
"Australia is number 10 on the (women's) world rankings," he said.
"They are doing better than the men, but do they get recognition?
"There's been a real growth in girls' football in the Far North Coast in recent years, and we wanted to show that.
"I think it's fantastic that people around the area will see what a beautiful tournament we've had here.
"Other sports need to have a look at what we are doing for women's sports."