Soccer out scores netball with girls
A ROY Morgan survey reveals that for the first time, more girls are playing soccer than netball.
Australian kids between 6-13 over the past 12 months have picked up the round ball in droves, with soccer rising to the top of the table of most popular sports among kids, with 50% surveyed playing.
The rise in popularity of soccer isn't restricted to just boys, with the sport increasingly popular with girls, to the point where soccer has overtaken netball in popularity.
The survey showed 39% of Australian girls play soccer, compared to 37% who play netball.
South Services Gunners president Shanon Tough runs soccer clinics for girls looking to build their skills.
Tough said he had noticed the increase in interest from girls for soccer.
"We've got a lot of girls playing soccer this year, over 40 for our club alone," he said.
"A lot of the other clubs have got a lot of girls playing too.
"It has definitely increased over the last five years."
Tough said the rise in popularity of soccer comes from the inclusive nature of the sport.
"Soccer is a family game, played by boys and girls, mums and dads," he said.
"It's the sort of sport for everyone, at any skill level.
"There's also more activities that cater for girls, and organisations are doing exclusive girls' camps and clinics, encouraging them to get involved."
With the recent success of the Australian national women's soccer team, the Matildas, and the increasing professionalism of the sport, Tough said it was inspiring to the young girls.
"Having the senior teams playing and seeing some good quality women's football encourages the junior girls," he said.