VfL Wolfsburg launches StrongHER initiative in Chattanooga
VfL Wolfsburg, in partnership with Chattanooga Football Club, have announced the launch the first project of the club's own "StrongHER" initiative in Chattanooga. Together with partners, such as the Volkswagen Belegschaftsstiftung, opportunities are being created to offer girls from socially disadvantaged families access to soccer and to create a regular program that will promote women in soccer and strengthen the public perception of female athletes.
“The innovative, international flagship project is intended to enable future opportunities and work against all forms of discrimination against girls and women in the sports and education sectors, thus actively contributing to change,” said VfL managing director Michael Meeske.
The first step of the project will take place in cooperation with CFC's Operation Get Active. It will focus on three different areas: Training, Mentoring, and Education. VfL Wolfsburg has sent a trainer, Julia Hofmann, to Chattanooga to run a soccer camp twice a year for 10 weeks, in which up to 30 girls from socially disadvantaged communities can participate free of charge. In addition to the training, which takes place twice a week, future plans include mobile soccer schools for girls in rural areas and disadvantaged communities that lack access to organized sports. As part of StrongHER, interested participants will also be offered the opportunity to train as coaches, which will be conducted and certified by VfL Wolfsburg.
Program partnership with Operation Get Active
Locally, Operation Get Active assists in the planning and implementation of StrongHER. OGA is a health and physical activity initiative that uses soccer to promote the long-term well-being of children and youth. For StrongHER, OGA manages the identification and enrollment of participants as well as on-site organization.
Relaunch of the Chattanooga FC women's team
As another pillar in the StrongHER project, VfL Wolfsburg is also supporting the return of the Chattanooga FC women's team, which was officially announced at the beginning of the year. As part of this, the CFC women will compete in the North American WPSL starting in May 2022. In addition to expertise, VfL Wolfsburg is also providing support in the form of personnel resources and systematic approaches to the development of a playing philosophy in close coordination with the local managers.
Further development of StrongHER
In addition to the sporting facet, the Education and Mentoring building blocks are also to be further developed and expanded. In the summer of 2022, the girls who take part in the training program from March onwards will, among other things, be given the opportunity to spend time with players from the CFC women's team and will be able to take part in an on-site mentoring program.