It’s official, young Australian girls are donning football boots over netball skirts according to a recent Roy Morgan Research.
Young females have taken to the ‘world game’ in more ways than one which has seen thirty-nine percent register as footballers compared to thirty-seven percent playing netball.
It is the first time Australia has seen netball being surpassed by football with many young girls wanting to follow in the footsteps of what has been a successful year for the Matildas as well as the continual surge of the Westfield W-League.
Sutherland Shire Football Association (SSFA) is leading the charge and has more female football players than any other Association in the country. The SSFA offers female players a myriad of opportunities to enjoy the game: local club football, a highly accredited Girls Academy, regular school holiday clinics, participation in the FNSW Girls SAP, and the opportunity to represent Sutherland in the FNSW Women’s Premier League.
Hugh Amoyal, Deputy CEO, Roy Morgan Research, was encouraged by the recent research and highlighted the shift of change in the female sporting environment.
“The rise in participation among Australian girls is particularly interesting, with more girls now playing football than the traditionally female-oriented sport of netball.
“Whether this is due to the ‘Matildas effect’, changing Physical Education programs in Australian schools, or a mixture of both is yet to be determined, but it is a step towards a more gender-balanced approach to sport.”
Football also scored another win which saw the sport overtake swimming as the most popular sporting activity among Australian kids, with one in two children aged 6-13 now playing the Beautiful Game.
Back in June 2014, 50% of Aussie kids (or 1,213,000 children) reported going swimming, ahead of 47% (1,136,000) who said they played football.
Since then, football has gained an extra 108,000 young players, to hit a 50% participation rate (1,244,000); while swimming participation has fallen by 32,000 kids and now sits at 48%.
While more Aussie kids are also taking part in athletics, cricket, netball and Australian Rules football than they were 12 months ago, the increases for these sports are negligible when compared with the boom in football participation.
Ten most popular sports amongst Australian children aged 6 to 13:
1. Football – 50%
2. Swimming – 48%
3. Cycling – 37%
4. Athletics – 32%
5. Basketball – 31%
6. Dancing – 30%
7. Cricket – 26%
8. Netball – 21%
9. Australian Football – 19%
10. Gymnastics – 18%
Source: Roy Morgan Research