- Jules Mayele
The Kampala Girls League: Growing the Game for Girls
Launched in 2019 and expanded in 2020 with support from Beyond Sport and Laureus Sport for Good, the Kampala Girls League (KGL) is a signature program of Soccer Without Borders (SWB) Uganda, designed to advance gender equality on the soccer pitch. In Uganda, women’s and girls' soccer is still underdeveloped and largely only accessible through university and private schools; the Kampala Girls League was created by SWB to provide girls at the grassroots level a platform to play, compete, connect, have fun, promote fair play, and develop leadership skills. During every school holiday in Kampala, the KGL provides a safe and fun environment for 12-15 weeks per year for more than 450 girls.
KPL programs are designed for girls between the ages of 12 and 18 in the cities of Kampala and Entebbe, Uganda. In order for women's soccer to take shape in the region, it is pivotal that investments are made in girls at a young age and at the grassroots level. We believe that “if she can see it she can be it” which, for KGL, means prioritizing women role models on the pitch and on the sidelines.
The KGL model is unique in the fact that it is pure “radical football” methodology. Teams are also not rewarded based on the rules of conventional soccer, instead, the KGL design allows multiple teams to win. More than scoring goals, other accomplishments awarded to teams include those who are most punctual, those who acquire the most “fair play” points, best goal celebration, favorite opponent, and more. The teams crowned as divisional champions are decided by a combination of match points and fair-play points.
The League is managed by the Soccer Without Borders Youth Council and has become a perfect avenue to develop youth leadership skills. The Youth Council includes 10 SWB Uganda participants, six of whom are certified youth referees by the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA). The central referee, together with the match official and team captains, meet at the end of each game to reflect on the match and to award a maximum of two additional points.
Since its inception three years ago, the momentum of the league in Kampala has continued to grow. The latest season of the league, which originally began with six teams, is now set to welcome over 30 all-girl teams across three divisions. While this rapid growth is certainly exciting, the most important thing is that it means that each and every participant within these teams are growing their love for the game, making new friends, and strengthening skills toward fulfilling their greatest potential.
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