Here is just a little something to show how passionate and serious I am about developing young girls for the game in South Africa, in my spare time when I am not on International duty.
Playing for the South African Woman’s National team is a huge honor and privilege, but the only downfall for the ladies in this country is that there is no Professional league running. The ladies get promised almost every year that a Professional league will eventually happen, but still nothing has changed. The development is not taken serious enough and therefore a lot of young girls tend to give up on the sport or find different interests.
A lot of young girls look up to the Woman’s National team (Banyana Banyana) and a few call us their Role Models. Day in and day out I receive Facebook messages from girls out there that question me about how to be a National Team player and where they can start playing the game?
After coaching a few schools around town in my spare time, I saw the excitement and joy this game brings to youngsters and how anxious they are to learn more. That was when I decided to start my own league in schools which is now called the JVW (Janine Van Wyk) Girls Soccer School league. This, I thought would be a great opportunity for improvement in the development structure of the game and as a National Team player giving back to the community.
As the league progressed, I found time to go see each and every school that participated in the league. The girls were highly motivated by just having me watch their games and that for me was wonderful to see. I knew this league would be successful and having heard the feedback from all the schools, they are all happy and looking forward to playing again next year.
I tried to make this league professional as possible for the players by giving each team a Participation Certificate, and by giving the Winners And Runners up of each age group U/15 and Opens, Gold and Silver medals, and the Winners received a Winners Trophy and a JVW Floating Trophy. There was also a Player of the year that received a brand new soccer ball and a Goal Keeper of the year that received Goal Keeper Gloves. This is something they have never experienced before. All these teams were just school teams that played the game for fun, for the passion and the love of the game and im pretty sure that these players didn’t expect this much from the league. When I saw the winners lift the trophy, I saw pure passion and happiness in their eyes. They all jumped up and down as if they had won the Womans World Cup. The players that didnt receive any medal had the belief and courage that it would be them next year lifting the trophy. It was unbelievable to see how much this really meant to them. They took photos and held on to that trophy as if someone was going steal it away from them. This all made me so emotional and happy at the same time. Seeing how proud the coaches were of their players and the hard work they put in.
On the developing side I decided to call the best 5 players from each school and had trials to finally pick a squad of 18 players who have the potential to train and be a National Team player one day. I had all the National team coaches down at the trials to have them scout players who stood out for them and a possible player who could play for either the U/15 or U/20 in the near future. The coaches are really excited about my program and believe that this could work well for the development in this country.
I am extremely happy and I am positive that this League will only grow from here. From now on all the girls that are highly interested and serious about the game and their dreams, finally now have the opportunity to work hard towards their goals and make their dream come a reality.
© Janine Van Wyk / WomensSoccerUnited.com