By Grant Hitzman
Newly appointed Zillmere QWAFL senior coach, Jacob Simmons-Bliss, will not only have the task of guiding the women’s team in 2014, but will also be responsible for the management of the Eagles’ “Flying to the Flag” Female Football & Strategic Vision Program.
Simmons-Bliss will play a crucial role in implementing a strong female football pathway program to encourage participation and growth of female footballers at all levels.
The program will focus on the development of Eagles footballers from U15’s to QWAFL and QWAFA competitions.
Fostering talent pathways is vital according to Simmons-Bliss, who is adamant that the Eagles are developing a successful pathway to assist girls and women involved in football.
“The Zillmere Eagles female football pathway identifies the need for high quality programs within the female football landscape,” he said.
“Our program not only focuses on teaching basic skills and game play, but more importantly places great emphasis on game-based association, training and footy smarts in an inclusive environment.
“Creating that environment where every every female feels comfortable to participate is an important part of pathway development.”
Simmons-Bliss is confident the introduction of new pathways will ensure the growth, development and retention of elite female players and provide long-term success across female competitions.
“Our overall goal is to provide access and opportunities for all girls and women to be exposed to a supportive and inclusive club environment, where every female can receive quality coaching and elite training and hopefully go on to achieve success at Club, State & National level,” Simmons-Bliss said.
“To achieve this, the pathway must begin with significantly increasing female participation within our club and affiliated leagues with females of all ages & experience levels.”
Under Simmons-Bliss’ guidance, Zillmere are already on their way to improving the participation and growth in their women’s leagues, with female participation numbers significantly increasing over the preseason. Over 80 Youth, Junior and Senior Women’s players are on the Eagles list for the start of the season.
The QWAFL season will commence this Saturday, with Zillmere taking on Griffith-Moorooka at Alexander Park from 4:30pm on April 26.