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Aviva Insurance today announced its return to the sponsorship of the FAI’s Soccer Sisters initiative for 2017. Aviva will continue to sponsor the programme right through to 2020.

Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team manager, Sue Ronan, was at the Aviva Stadium where the details of 2017 Aviva Soccer Sisters programme were announced. She was joined by several members of her squad including Stephanie Roche, Denise O’Sullivan and Shelbourne’s recent FAI Cup hat-trick hero, Leanne Kiernan.

The Aviva Soccer Sisters Programme, open to girls aged 7 – 12 years old, includes a range of initiatives aimed at attracting new girls to the game and also at fostering the enjoyment of the those already playing the game.

Along with the traditional Easter Camps, there will be club and school programmes and a new Aviva Soccer Sisters Nursery Academy which will give girls between the ages of 5 and 8 years old the chance to play football for the first time.

Aviva’s sponsorship aims to expand the number of venues to 120 across the country during 2017. Aviva will also host a Soccer Sisters National Blitz at the Aviva Stadium in May 2017. This will give young players from all over the country the chance to play on the famous Aviva pitch.

Sue Ronan, Women’s National Team Manager, Republic of Ireland, said; “The Soccer Sisters programme has undoubtedly helped to increase participation within the schoolgirl’s game nationwide. Over 25,000 girls have come through the programme since it began in 2006. It has proved to be a great way of introducing girls to the game, and many have continued in the game by joining their local club”

Stephanie Roche, Sunderland Ladies and Republic of Ireland, said; “It's great to see so many option for young girls. Getting them involved at an early age is vital because it will boost the number of girls playing in Ireland which in turn gives us a bigger pool of players to choose from on an international front.”

Mark Russell, Sponsorship Manager, Aviva Ireland, said; “Aviva is delighted to be involved with the Soccer Sisters programme for 2017. We want to help expand the reach of the Soccer Sisters camps across the country to help get more clubs and schools involved in 2017. Along with the Aviva Soccer Sisters camps in clubs and schools there will also be the Easter Camps and the Nursery Academy which gives girls from 5 – 8 years old the chance to try football in a fun environment. This is another example of Aviva’s grassroots programmes where, just as in our sponsorship of the IRFU’s Mini Rugby, we are helping to create the heroes of tomorrow who we hope will be wearing the green jersey in years to come.”