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The City of Fremantle has announced a three-year major sponsorship of the Girls Festival of Community Soccer.
The Festival, in its second year, provides girls with the opportunity to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of playing a team sport.
More than 500 girls will participate in the five-a-side tournament, which will be held at Fremantle Oval on Saturday 16 March 2024.
Fremantle Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge made the commitment at a sponsor launch on Saturday at Fremantle City Football Club.
"I'm proud to announce that the City of Fremantle will be the naming sponsor of the Girls Festival of Community Soccer from 2024 to 2026.
"This is a three-year investment in a wonderful community initiative that contributes to the health, wellbeing and social connectivity of our city.
"I'd like to congratulate everyone involved. We stand by the philosophy behind the tournament, that is one of empowerment and belonging. We look forward to supporting your continued success," Mayor Fitzhardinge said.
The tournament was inspired by the FIFA Women's World Cup matches held in Perth last year, with 35 teams participating in its inaugural event in July 2023.
Festival organisers have confirmed this year's tournament is a sell-out, with 62 teams from 12 clubs registered. That is an 80 per cent increase in participation from last year.
Dozens of small soccer pitches will be marked on the Fremantle Oval turf, enabling games to be played concurrently. Each team plays a minimum of four games, with players ranging in age from 8 to 17 years. Participating clubs are predominantly from Perth's southern suburbs.
The City of Fremantle joins other main sponsors Community Bank Fremantle, Fremantle Markets, Harvey Beef and Fremantle Ports.
Girls Festival of Community Soccer organiser Traci Gamblin said she was grateful for the support.
"The enthusiasm we're seeing for the Festival confirms the community’s understanding of the wide-reaching benefits to girls from playing team sports.
"This great event offers girls an opportunity to play a sport they love, in a fun and supportive festival atmosphere," Ms Gamblin said.
Debra Rule, Chair of Fremantle Community Financial Services Ltd said "the Fremantle Community Bank powered by Bendigo Bank is delighted to support soccer, young women and the Freo community. We are proud to be the Platinum Sponsor of this wonderful event."
Academy coach and women and girls coordinator Yasmin Philp said the Fremantle City Football Club is pleased to be a partner and co-organiser.
"Fremantle City Football Club proudly takes the lead as Western Australia's largest female football club. The club has an ambitious goal in mind: gender parity within 2027.
"The Festival is a significant step in this direction and provides a wonderful opportunity for all girls to enjoy the game," Ms Philp said.
Enrolment fees will support the Festival's charity partner the Child Cancer Research Foundation, led by CEO Andrea Alexander.
"The Child Cancer Research Foundation is delighted to be involved with the 2024 Festival of Community Soccer. Support from this event will assist with vital life-saving research into childhood cancers," Ms Alexander said.
The Festival is sold out, however there is a waitlist in case of cancellations. For more information visit festivalofcommunitysoccer.com.au