by ERIN MAGUIRE
PAUL DAVIES reckons local girls can get a kick out of Scotland’s journey to the women’s world cup.
The Newmains United co-boss this week took time out to talk to a group of youngsters from the village’s illumin8 youth group.
He discussed the success of Shelley Kerr’s side reaching the finals in France for the first time ever – and the opportunities the sport can provide, both on and off the pitch.
Speaking after the chat at the Newmains Community Trust Centre, Davies said: “It was really good to come in and talk to the girls about football.
“Some of them knew what was happening and they were more aware of women’s football because of the world cup.
“Before the tournament Scotland played Jamaica at Hampden and there was a record crowd.
“I think the world cup has brought an energy. Some of the kids might not be into football but they are aware of what is going on.”
United recently created a new academy, which will see an Under-21s and 2007s team play under their umbrella this season.
But Davies is keen to get girls involved in the club too. He is planning to organise a training session to give them a taste for the game.
There are also other opportunities to play an active role in the strides being made at Victoria Park.
Davies said: “It’s important to get the full community involved at Newmains.
“We want to see boys, girls and families engaging in the community, especially up at our football club.
“The girls I spoke to were very excited young girls, which is great to see! Some of them are into football and are really keen to get involved.
“Others are into dancing and cheerleading so it would be great if we could focus that energy and bring them into the club to create that community feel.”
NCT youth leader Heather Nicol – who oversees the illumin8 group – thinks football could be hugely beneficial to the youngsters.
She said: “A lot of the girls often say they’re not interested in football. But we found through the kick-ball activities we do that once they see others playing it they get involved.
“I think some of the ones who say they won’t do it will give it a try and will probably find they do actually like it. We have a few sporty kids who want to take part.”
Davies’ chat left an impression and many of the girls are now keen to have a go at football. Nine-year-old Millie wants to play for a team.
She said: “I’ve played football at school before and I’ve taken penalty shots at my uncle. I scored over half of them!”
Macey, also nine, added: “I sometimes play while my dad trains. I kick the ball around when he’s playing. I would like to do it properly.”
Illumin8 youth club meets every Tuesday from 6pm to 8pm at the NCT Centre on Manse Road and is open to boys and girls aged eight and over.