Football Federation Victoria has kicked off a new program aimed at involving mums in a safe and supportive environment.The program, Soccer Mums, enables participants to discover the basics of the game in an empowering program designed specifically for less active mothers — particularly those with children of school age or younger — to increase their physical activity.Jen Willmott, project manager for the Soccer Mums program, said participants could drop their kids off at training and have a training session themselves before picking their kids up afterwards.“Rather than sitting on the sidelines and getting cold in the winter, they can come into a supported environment and learn the basics of soccer,” she said.Willmott said the program had proven to be liberating for a number of the participants.“They didn’t think that they’d ever be able to do sport again once they had children,” she said. “This program is less confronting, there’s no judgment.”media_cameraThe Soccer Mums of Monbulk.Willmott said Soccer Mums was all about getting participants involved and learning a bit about the game.“We’re not trying to turn them into soccer players,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to learn some basics. It’s great if they can become more active and get out and be able to have a kick with their kids.”The program has quickly hit the mark, with a wide range of participants signing up.“It goes from young mums — we had someone at a Knox session last week with a six month old, probably late-20s — all the way to 50+ who have teenage children,” Willmott said. “It (the age range) doesn’t change the program at all. The way the deliverers run the program, it doesn’t matter if some of them are running and some of them are walking.”And the excitement level and enthusiasm on display has been infectious.“It takes me probably half an hour to calm down after a session, I’ve been laughing so much,” Willmott said.Interest at this early stage of the program has been extremely encouraging.“There’s 20 to 30 clubs that are interested,” Willmott said. “It’s just a matter of turning that involvement into programs.”And, as more women gain knowledge and an understanding of the sport through the program, there is an increased likelihood that they may become involved in coaching and administration at club level.“Now that they are more empowered, they are more likely to put their hands up,” Willmott said.And, much to the envy of their children, a group of Soccer Mums participants recently played on the AAMI Park surface during halftime of the A-League derby between Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory.A number of clubs have already kicked off a Soccer Mums program and anyone keen to register and get a spot on the program’s mailing list should complete the online form — information about programs in the area will be sent when available.To learn more about the program, visit: Mums: enjoying physical activity and learning the game of soccer.

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