Main content
Proudly Sydney

Swans welcome Youth Girls

Welcome to the Swans Family QBE Sydney Swans Academy mentor Nicola 'Ziggy' Zagame and Youth Girls Academy member Poppy spend a day with the Sydney Swans.

History was in the making at the SCG on Wednesday night, when the first female athletes were welcomed to the Sydney Swans family.

The QBE Sydney Swans Academy officially launched its Youth Girls Program, with 130 girls receiving their training outfits as they were inducted to the Swans.

The under 12 and 13-year-old girls will commence with an initial 12-week elite training program, which kicks off on April 30.

Sydney Swans CEO and Managing Director Andrew Ireland said it’s a special day for the club.

“This is really exciting for our football club to be able to welcome our first intake of young female athletes,” Ireland said.

“We’re really proud of the impact that our QBE Sydney Swans Academy has already had on talent pathways and participation across New South Wales.

“Our Youth Girls Program aims to strengthen female participation and provide a pathway for female footballers – and certainly we hope to see some of these girls running out in a Sydney Swans AFLW team in the future.”

The Youth Girls Program is proudly supported by Sydney Swans Principal Partner QBE. QBE Australia and New Zealand Chief Customer Officer Bettina Pidcock says they’re passionate about supporting opportunities for women in sport.

“As a proud partner of the Sydney Swans for the past 32 years, we’re excited to nurture the skills of our female athletes at this grassroots level. We’re also excited about the prospects this brings to AFL, increasing participation and interest in the game.”

The Youth Girls Program will be coached by Mark Richardson, who also coaches junior football at the Manly Bombers and is involved with the Swans as a runner in the NEAFL. They will also be guided by several mentors including former Olympians Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Nicola “Ziggy” Zagame.

General Manager of the QBE Sydney Swans Academy Chris Smith said the Youth Girls Program will eventually grow to more than 500 participants.

“Our first intake of girls will continue along a talent pathway through to under 18s with the program set to grow each year as further age groups are added,” Smith said.

“The Academy provides tailored programs to help develop high-level skills and will also teach the girls about the importance of maintaining health, nutrition and a balanced lifestyle.

“We hope the program will continue to help foster a strong AFL culture across New South Wales.”

The QBE Sydney Swans Academy has already seen a number of participants graduate to the Swans senior list, including Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills, Sam Naismith, Jordan Foote, Dan Robinson, Jake Brown and James Bell.