Otago 14th Grade Blue

The Otago 14th Grade Blue representative girls football team will be playing in the South Island Junior Football Championships in Christchurch from Sunday, October 2, until Tuesday, October 4.
The team of 16 was selected from girls within Dunedin in July following initial trials and then a wider training squad. Since the end of the winter football season, they have been training three times a week.
The focus has been on developing their technique and game awareness, particularly not panicking when in possession and under pressure from the defending team.
The team recently played a Festival of Football tournament against other Football South Federation representative teams in Invercargill and then Timaru.
Coach Matthew Holdridge was pleased with progress.
‘‘The two festival days allowed me to see players in various positions and how they performed.’’
Often, the player’s winter club positions could be different from the rep team and it was pleasing to see the girls adapt, he said.
‘‘As with any kind of tournament football, the ability [and willingness] of some players to rotate positions will be key to the team performing well over three days.’’
While the results of the festival days were not important, the last game against a physically stronger 17th grade girls Mid Canterbury team saw the girls perform exceptionally well and win 3-1.
‘‘This game was our fourth pretournament game as a team and the most pleasing aspect was the girls’ commitment to win the ball against older girls. They didn’t back out of a tackle.
‘‘When in possession, the girls moved the ball quickly with limited touches to create space and chances,’’ Holdridge said.
‘‘Following some good passing and movement, the last goal was a left-foot cracker by Eve Nicholls from outside the box, and cost her father a KFC on the way home.’’
The South Island tournament is a great opportunity for the girls to test themselves against the best players from across the South, and as always teams from Christchurch will be the biggest challenge.
‘‘This will be a big step up from any local football they play, and as long as the girls remained focused and confident then I see no reason why they can’t win the tournament.’’
The team would like to thank their sponsors for supporting junior representative football and we encourage you to visit them next time you are thinking about buying goods or services.