By Peter Douglas
The Upwey Tecoma Junior Football Club had been trying for two years to establish a girls’ football team.
It turns out all they needed was social media and an enthusiastic teenage girl.
Youngster Melissa Stephenson, 13, was keen to enjoy a kick with her mates, but had been told the club hadn’t been able to recruit enough players.
But Melissa, along with her coach father Glenn, wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
So, Melissa logged onto Facebook and messaged some friends, and five days later 15 players announced they would pull on the boots for the Tigers.
Incredibly, the inaugural junior girls’ team played their first match just days later on Sunday 2 April.
Melissa’s father and junior coach at the club, Glenn, said he had been considering hanging up the whistle before his daughter announced her desire to play.
Though they were disheartened to learn the recruiting wasn’t going to plan.
“I was disappointed to hear that no team had eventuated,” he said.
“I immediately knew that going back to my daughter, to tell her there was no team, was not an option.
“I got together with my daughter and figured that we would have a go ourselves at forming a team for the club.
“That night, she put the word out on her social platforms.
“Lo and behold, within five days, we had 12 players ready to go for our Round 1 game that Sunday.
“By Monday, we had two more sign-ups to bring our total to 15.”
Mr Stephenson said they were confident of gaining around 18 players, which would give them a healthy bench and the ability to withstand injuries and absences due to school holidays.
He said the girls had been amazing in their endeavour and desire to learn the game, but said they found their first hit-up difficult, playing against experienced opposition in Olinda.
“They were absolutely annihilated,” he said.
“But they’ll learn from the match and will improve as they move forward.”