UEFA and Disney have announced a new partnership to inspire young girls to get involved in football (known in America as Soccer). The Playmakers program encourages teamwork, confidence, movement and more featuring Disney characters and stories.
- UEFA and Disney have teamed-up to develop a ground-breaking football programme that uses Disney’s world-renowned storytelling to encourage more young girls to exercise regularly and kickstart a lifelong love of football.
- Inspired by academic research showing the positive role of storytelling in helping children take up sport, Playmakers also aims to increase the proportion of girls meeting the World Health Organization’s minimum standards for physical activity.
- Targeting 5-8 year-old girls not currently playing football, seven UEFA national associations will roll out “Playmakers” through schools, clubs and local communities. Participating groups include:
- More associations are expected to introduce the programme later in the year.
- Parents interested in learning more about Playmakers can visit www.uefa.com/playmakers.
Movement, teamwork, imagination
- Unlike traditional football programmes, each of Playmaker’s ten initial training sessions follow the narrative of Disney and Pixar’s Incredibles 2.
- Equipped with footballs, bibs and cones, trained coaches encourage participants to play the roles of popular characters, such as Elastigirl, Violet, Mr Incredible and Dash, bringing the film’s action scenes to life through movement, teamwork and their imagination.
- As Playmakers rolls out across Europe, new Disney storytelling will be added to the programme.
- In its early sessions, Playmakers focuses on building girls’ confidence in their movement, encouraging creative thinking and communicating easily with their friends.
- Later sessions introduce girls to basic football skills, but the programme continues to put the emphasis on making sport fun.
Time for Action:
- Playmakers represents a first step toward achieving one of the main goals of “Time for Action” the UEFA Women’s Football Strategy – to double girls’ and women’s participation in football by 2024.
Disney’s Healthy Living Commitment:
- Across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Disney has a long-standing Healthy Living Commitment, using its storytelling to get families more active and working to educate and inspire children about healthy eating.
- In Poland, Disney launched its successful #GetMovingWithDisneyJunior initiative, a campaign spearheaded by local sporting champions, which reached more than 30,000 youngsters.
What they’re saying:
- Nadine Kessler, UEFA Head of Women’s Football: “If you’re going to teach football through the power of storytelling and play, you have to do it with the best stories and characters in the world, and Disney is the perfect partner for this. By taking that Disney magic, and implementing the first-ever pan-European girls’ grassroots football programme, we will give any girl the best possible opportunity to fall in love with football.”
- Nadine Kessler: “As a playmaker on the pitch, you have all the possibilities to shape the game around you, to be creative from so many different perspectives. We want girls to have the same feeling and be encouraged to create their own game and make their own decisions. This is exactly what this programme is about – creating an environment for all girls to flourish and develop, whether that be fundamental movement skills, football basics or life skills and values. We truly believe that this unique programme can be the spark for a more active generation of football-loving girls.”
- UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin: “It is UEFA’s duty as European football’s governing body to empower girls to play the game. Through this partnership with Disney, we will open up football to an audience not yet engaged with our sport.”
- Nicole Morse, Disney EMEA’s Vice President of Integrated Marketing: “This brilliant Playmakers initiative is another great example of Disney’s long-term commitment to help future generations lead healthier lifestyles. By using our much-loved characters and stories as a force for good, we can really make a difference and inspire families and children to be more active.”
- Serbian national team and Manchester United FC player Nemanja Matić: “When I see football or Disney in the same sentence, it puts a smile on my face. When I was a kid, I often used all my time between football to watch Disney movies and today I do the same with my children. I hope this project will encourage young girls to get involved in football, and if they wish to do so, as a father and professional athlete I will give all my support.“
- Scotland national team and Chelsea FC striker Erin Cuthbert: “This latest initiative from Disney and UEFA is fantastic and offers a new way for children to begin playing football. I absolutely love Disney, even at the age of 21. When I was younger, this is definitely something I would [have] loved to have been a part of.