By Liam Emerton
Women’s soccer is forever growing in Central Queensland and on the weekend the Gladstone region welcomed a new carnival to expand the game’s reach.
The Boyne Tannum Sharks were the host of the first-ever ‘Girls United’, a two-day social carnival made for just ladies backed by Football Queensland and the Gladstone Regional Council.
Teams from Tannum, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Biloela/Callide and Hervey Bay descended on Boyne Island for two action-packed days of soccer.
The idea behind Girls United is to attract new players into the women’s soccer scene while also maintaining the interest of those who played this year but are currently in the off-season.
Boyne Tannum Sharks management president Jeff Wells said it was a terrific weekend and he’s already looking forward to the next one.
“It was fantastic to see all the ladies down there,” he said.
“Even though it was advertised a bit late in the season we had a great turnout.
“It was the inaugural event and we’re hoping to make it bigger and better each year.
“Football Queensland has given us the assurances that we will host it here again next year.
“We’re hoping that, because it’s on the yearly calendar now, we can stream it into some local promotion now.
“Perhaps get some local businesses involved like motels, restaurants because it is overnight.
“Hopefully that would attract more people to come to our region and make it bigger and better.”
That ‘bigger and better’ is a bit of an understatement with Wells and the team hoping to double or even triple the attendance for the 2022 event.
Coming off the back of the first-ever CQ Premier League women’s competition, the pathways for our ladies have never been stronger.
Our talent pool in the women’s game is very strong and will continue to grow with annual events like Girls United and the Frenchville 6-a-side competition.
Wells said the club is going through the process of making the carnival run as smooth as possible.
“It really is more of a celebration of women’s football which is growing every year,” he said.
“Leading into the women’s World Cup in 2023 hosted here in Australia.
“We’ve had some really positive feedback from the people who were there.
“We’re sitting down and doing a review of the process with Football Queensland and Football Queensland Central.”
Wells was also extremely thankful for those who participated and volunteered at the first-ever Girls United carnival and for making it a wonderful first outing.
“From a personal perspective I’d really just like to thank all those who traveled and came to the region,” he said.
“They all had big smiles, they brought their marquees, they flew their colours for their club.
“It was really great to see. This thing doesn’t just come together. There were lots of volunteer hours and everything that went into it.
“A big thanks to Robyn and Monica who ran the canteen all day, on both days.
“And all the support that goes around that was fantastic.”