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Football First XI makes a flying start

This may be the first year that ACG Strathallan's First XI Girls Football team has played together, but they've already proven they are a force to be reckoned with.
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ACG Strathallan's First XI Girls Football team is led by Captain Joan Grey (Year 10)

This may be the first year that ACG Strathallan's First XI Girls Football team has played together, but they've already proven they are a force to be reckoned with.

Not only did the team win every game in their Counties Senior B grade this season, but they also qualified for the Auckland Provisional Championships, battling it out against the city's finest teams to secure a placing among the top ten.

The players, and their coach Mason Willis, couldn't be more pleased.

Says Mason, "The team has gone from strength to strength this season. We finished the season unbeaten, and with an average of six goals-a-game to zero goals conceded in the Counties B league. We were then promoted to a higher league in which we have won every game except one so far.

"Beyond the incredible results, the team should be most proud of their diligence and commitment throughout the season. The more experienced girls have helped to raise the standard of the team and they look more cohesive and disciplined on the pitch with each game we play. I am one very proud coach!"

With players spanning Years 9 to 13, and a mix of abilities, it has been an outstanding achievement and one that captain Joan Grey (Year 10) is looking forward to improving on next season.

"It was thrilling to play the season undefeated, and the icing on the cake was qualifying Strathallan for the Auckland Provisional Champs. It was an honour to play against some of the top teams in Auckland," confirms Joan.

"This was our first year playing together as a team, which brought its challenges, but we soon got to know each other and learned to play to each other's strengths to become a formidable force. Most of us are in Year 10, so we can stay together as a team for the next few years. Having topped our school football division this season, we aspire to be playing in the Counties Premiership next year and challenging for the top position on the table."

Joan discovered her love of the game at the age of six. As well as playing for the school, she plays for Franklin United in the Northern Region Football League U14 Girls Premiership, along with three of her Strathallan First XI teammates. Eventually, she hopes to be selected for the Franklin United Women's First Team.

And while she admits it can be challenging to juggle club football, school football and her ACG Strathallan studies, Joan believes there are a number of benefits.
"I find getting outside and playing football helps clear my mind so I can focus better on my studies." 

Additionally, representing a school she loves in a sport she's passionate about is time well spent for this talented teen. 

"I love our team vibe. Everyone is positive, and we have lots of fun training and playing together. We also have an awesome coach, Mr Willis, who is a big Chelsea fan and shares our passion for football."

The highly dedicated team won every game in their Counties Senior B grade this season and also qualified for the Auckland Provisional Championships