Callies Saltaires girls ‘on the ball’

Mogan Segadavan
TIRED of being her brother’s “ball boy”, Grade 3 Herbert Hurd pupil Tatum Bennette decided to show him (and his friends) how it is done.
The feisty nine-year-old and eight other girls play for Callies in the Pefa junior soccer league – against boys!
According to their coach, Anthony Emmett Callies, the U9s registered 56 players, including 11 girls.
“Initially the teams were mixed, but I found the boys in the team tended to ignore the girls and only passed to other boys,” Emmett said.
“So we decided to enter an all-girls team, and that’s how Callies Saltaires was born.”
As far as could be established, this is the first time in Callies’ 115-year history that they are fielding a girls’ team in a boys’ league.
The girls train twice a week with the boys from 6pm to 7pm.
The team does not have a regular captain. Each week a different girl gets to wear the captain’s armband.
“It is not only about the game. We want to encourage leadership qualities,” Emmett said.
Not surprisingly, Tatum, whose father is Italian, hopes to play for the Italian’s women’s team one day.
Mom, Tania, has no problem with her daughter playing what is essentially a boy’s game.
“Since she started, she has grown in confidence.”
The coach’s daughter, Eiren, is the team’s goalkeeper.
“I want to play for Banyana Banyana one day when I am older,” the confident Lorraine Primary pupil said.
At seven, D’nica Roff is one of the babies of the team.
Mom Jacky says the Charlo Primary Grade 1 pupil always accompanied her when she supported her son, Connor, who is also in the Callies U9 squad.
“One day, she said she also wanted to play soccer and we ended up registering her with Callies.”
On Sunday, the girls lost 2-1 to Priory’s all-boys team.

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