Children who have parents that are both active and play sport are much more likely to play sport themselves.
As part of the UEFA’s ‘We Play Strong’ campaign, UEFA carried out research to help them better understand the barriers between girls and football. The research found that mothers who participate in sports double the likelihood of their children playing too. Teenage girls are also more likely to play football if they have a brother to kick around with.
The annual Sport for Business Women in Irish Sports Conference took place in RTE yesterday. Speaking at the event was Polly Bancroft, UEFA’s Business Development Co-Ordinator. She said:
“Our research showed that if fathers play sport their children are 50% likely to play but if their mothers play sport as well, they are 95% likely to play.”
Specifically, in relation to football (soccer), she said:
“Having parents who can afford to pay for after-school activities is also an influencing factor, and also if a girl has a brother, which means she is more likely to be outside playing in the garden or park with her sibling.”
UEFA’s research also found that parents tend to bring their daughters to play football much later than their sons. This delay leads to the less-developed skill which lowers the confidence of the girls when they do start playing.
‘We Play Strong’ Campaign
UEFA created the ‘We Play Strong’ campaign before the 2017 European Championships to convince girls to either stick with football or encourage them to start playing. The campaign is targeted at 13-17-year-old girls and therefore uses social media and influencers as their main platforms to portray the message.
Polly said that 73% of the girls surveyed said they would like to play football and the number of girls who regarded the sport of football as being ‘cool’ had doubled after watching some of the promotional material from the campaign.
“Teenage girls won’t do anything unless they perceive that it’s cool so we had to change the image of football and make it current.”
In line with the campaign, UEFA has been working with the FAI to produce an Irish version of the ‘We Play Strong’ campaign next year. As part of the Irish campaign, the Irish Men Senior players will be encouraged to promote the UEFA’s new father/daughter campaign.
Although UEFA is concentrating specifically on soccer, they are not the only ones trying to get women to take part in more sports. The 20×20 initiative has implemented a campaign to:
- Increase women participating in sport by 20%,
- Increase the attendance of women’s sports with 20% and,
- Increase media coverage of women’s sports with 20%.
UEFA’s campaign and the 20×20 campaign compliment each other nicely and hopefully, by 2020 we should see an upward shift in the number of women taking part not only in soccer but across all sports.
Do your bit by bringing your young ones for a kick about in the park or why not check out our kid-friendly events?