A first for Green Island

Line-up . . . The Green Island Junior Football Committee (from left) secretary Sherree Hasler, committee member Vicky McLeod, committee member Regan Potbury, president Gina Clouston-Cain, coaching co-ordinator and former president Dave Hand, treasurer Kim Bayne and girls' co-ordinator Cate Hobbs. Absent: Di Thomas, Steph Mason and Craig Mason. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

For the first time in the club’s 148-year history, Green Island Junior Football Club has a female president.

Gina Clouston-Cain is in her first season as president, having taken on the role after the club’s annual general meeting in October.

“It’s really exciting,” she said of the position.

She was unsure why it had taken so long for a woman to lead the club, but said leadership decisions were not based on gender.

Girls’ co-ordinator Cate Hobbs said it was more about who was able to step up at the time.

“The people who step up have always tended to be men.”

This season, however, women on the committee outnumber the men – seven of the 10 members are female.

Clouston-Cain and Hobbs are joined by secretary Sherree Hasler, treasurer Kim Bayne, and members Steph Mason, Di Thomas and Vicky McLeod.

Dave Hand, Craig Mason and Regan Potbury fill the other three spots.

Between them, they had 19 children involved in the sport, which was a big factor when joining the committee, Clouston-Cain said.

“For me, I think it we all do a little but it just makes the load a lot lighter.

“Also, it’s a great way to be part of the community.”

Her main job this season was to “keep the ship steady” while looking towards the future of the club.

It was facing some challenges, including sending about 80 players to different tournaments.

Another focus, which was already under way, was transitioning female players from the junior club to the seniors.

About 25% of the junior club’s players are girls.

Hobbs said there was a “bubble” of girls moving through the ranks and sticking with the sport.

The club has three senior women’s teams, two of which are predominantly made up of players who started in the junior club.

Clouston-Cain said there was a pathway for young female players.

“We’re trying to encourage more girls to stay and keep playing.”

Football South operations manager Julia Connor said the federation had several women representing clubs and committees, but there were ambitions for this to increase quickly over the coming years.

“To ensure this happens we are trying to lead by example and have an almost 50/50 split of male and female employees in our office, this ratio is amongst the top of all seven federations in NZ.”