Girls’ soccer growing in Bridgetown

Members of the girls’ team of the Bridgetown Athletic Football Club are put through their paces.

After 30 years of existence, the Bridgetown Athletic Football Club (AFC) finally started a girls’ team.

Thaabiet Ryklief, spokesperson for Bridgetown AFC, said women’s soccer was growing across the world, just like it was in his community.

“We learnt that girls are joining clubs outside of our community, as there were no clubs offering soccer for them in Bridgetown,” Mr Ryklief said.

The girls’ team was started just before lockdown, but the restrictions forced all practices to stop and they only resumed two weeks ago.

Community activist Caroline Peters joined one of the club’s meetings not too long ago, and when she heard about their plans to start a girls’ team, she spread the word. Now girls from the age of 12 to 15 years have already signed up.

Training take place at the club’s home ground, at Bridgetown High School.

“We have made lots of strides over the years, and we are excited about the latest one – having a girls’ soccer team,” said Mr Ryklief.

“We did not have a home ground for most of our existence. Three years ago, we approached Bridgetown High School, and after meetings and paperwork with the principal and the school governing body, it was agreed that we could use the school’s ground. The field looks nice now. It was in a bad state before. We raised funds and hired landscapers. The agreement we have with the school is that we maintain the field.”

Tasneem Bassier, 13, is among the girls who have joined. Her father, Shahid Bassier, said it was natural that their daughter developed a love for the game as both he and his wife, Fadwah Bassier, used to play soccer.

“Over the years, I played for a few different teams, and Fadwah played indoor soccer. Tasneem is very interested to learn more about the game and to play soccer,” Mr Bassier said.

Mr Ryklief said some parents could not afford to pay registration fees and community involvement was therefore important.

“We want to become a hub on Saturdays. We play home games every Saturday, so it is safe for families to attend,” he said.