Helen steps up to be football leader

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Mid Canterbury United has appointed Helen Beal as its new football development officer, the first female in the role.

Beal replaces Darren Cavill and coached the Mid Canterbury United women’s team last year, a role she will continue again this season.

She hails from Northland, is a graphic designer by profession and has played and coached football for a number of years.

“I am really excited by the opportunity to step up and to support and develop the game in this district,” she said.

Beal said the timing for her was good because her eldest daughter had just started school and her youngest was at kindergarten.

She has already taken her knowledge and enthusiasm for the game to a couple of schools and has around 10 schools on her books.

Beal said she knew of another new female development officer at one of the Christchurch clubs, but did not know of any others in the male-dominated game.

She has already made her mark and recently introduced new football sessions for juniors on Thursday afternoons at Argyle Park.

Running until April 28, players are taken through drills and and play games if time allows.

No registration is needed and sessions for 4-6 year olds (Fun Kicks) go from 3.30pm until 4pm, for 7-9 year olds (Fun Kicks) from 4pm until 4.45pm and for those 10 and above from 4.45pm until 5.30pm.

Around 70 players attended the first session across all age groups.

“I’m planning on introducing something similar for junior girls on Tuesdays. Bringing them together will grow and develop skills and build confidence.”

Beal said she wanted more youngsters involved in the game and she believed there was a lot of potential to expand girls football.

“I’m already loving seeing the excitement on young faces and the enthusiasm to play the game.”

Last year 400 children played the game locally. Seniors kicks off the season on March 26 and juniors in early May.