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James Johnson thrilled with increased fan engagement for Socceroos and Matildas

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has revealed that in spite of COVID-19 related challenges, digital and social engagement figures have surged for both the Socceroos and Matildas.

FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson was delighted to announce the increased engagement levels, despite the pandemic halting matches and camps for Australia’s two senior national football teams throughout 2020.

“In the Post Summer 2020 BenchMark Report released by True North Research earlier this year, both our senior national teams rated strongly,” Johnson said.

“The Socceroos had the highest familiarity in the report, with nearly 80 per cent of all Australian sports followers familiar with the team, while the Westfield Matildas came first in emotional connection to all Australian sports followers.”

Johnson added that FFA’s in-house digital and social media team have proactively adapted FFA’s content offerings throughout the pandemic in response to traditionally peak performing periods around international fixtures having been postponed.

“We recognised at the start of the pandemic that there was a likelihood domestic football and a host of international match activity in 2020 could be affected by the COVID-19 situation, and moved swiftly to pivot some of our planning to ensure that our supporters retained, or even grew, their connections to the game and our iconic senior sides throughout this challenging period,” he said

FFA has adopted creative strategies for both the men’s and women’s digital strategies throughout 2020. These include leveraging the successful FIFA Women’s World Cup bid for the Matildas and taking a more retrospective approach for the Socceroos.

Australia’s winning bid to co-host the Women’s World Cup has been one of 2020’s highpoints.

“On the back of the euphoric announcement that Australia, together with New Zealand, will host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, combined with the movement of many leading Matildas players to globally recognised clubs abroad, we’ve focused on creating content that takes fans behind the scenes and into the lives of our elite female footballers, enabling them to gain a closer understanding of the people and their personalities.

“For the Socceroos, we have focused intently on the culture and history of the team, who in 2022 – a FIFA World Cup year – will celebrate a century of activity. This has included re-living many historic moments and matches and covering them as if social media existed when they occurred. This rich and reflective coverage has resulted in the Socceroos’ digital and social media accounts delivering more video views between April and June 2020 with no matches, than in the nine months prior.

In terms of tangible engagement, highlights of the past 12 months for the Westfield Matildas include a 121 per cent increase in total minutes viewed on Facebook, a 157 per cent increase in overall hours of video viewed across all platforms, and a 9.3 per cent increase in total followers to over 355,000 followers.

The recently launched FFA TikTok channel has also earned strong early engagement, with experienced defender Alanna Kennedy’s training clip edging towards three million views.

The Socceroos’ approach has resulted in a 244 per cent increase in total video views across all platforms, while total hours of video content consumed has risen by 355 per cent year-on-year. Remarkably, 81 per cent of all Socceroos video content consumed throughout last financial year occurred during the COVID-19 period between April and June. The Socceroos have a cumulative social following of over 1.1 million fans.

“Our intent is to continue evolving our digital and social products to ensure that we enhance our connection with our football community, involve fans in the journeys of our teams and players both in and out of peak match and competition periods, and deliver consistent value to our partners,” Johnson concluded.

Football Queensland renews partnership with Brisbane Paralympic Football Program

FQ partners with BPFP

Football Queensland (FQ) has renewed its partnership with the Brisbane Paralympic Football Program (BPFP), with Meakin Park named as the new home of the Queensland Para-Football team.

The BPFP was established initially as a way to encourage children of all abilities to take the opportunity to be a part of a club, a team and to train with experienced coaches. The program is conducted by volunteers who have professional experiences working with people with disabilities and it has now grown to see numerous participants taking part week in, week out.

The BPFP has a number of players in the current state and national Paralympic football teams, with more national representatives than most professional clubs across the globe. However, the program is not just about advanced athletes, it encourages fun and family participation in an effort to get young people with a disability to stay active and healthy and to perform to the best of their ability.

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci acknowledged the significance of the partnership for both FQ and BPFP.

“This partnership achieves a key strategic objective to provide opportunities for Queenslanders to participate in football, regardless of age, ability or life stage,” he said.

“The BPFP will work with FQ to promote the development pathway of Para-Football and all abilities football within the Queensland football community.

“In addition, FQ will support a Queensland team to participate in the 2021 National Para-Football Championships in Sydney later this year. This will be the first time in five years that a Queensland team has competed at Nationals.

“FQ is committed to providing the same level of administrative and operational support to the Queensland Para-Football Team as it does to all other state youth teams each year.”

Founded in 2006 by director Jay Larkin, the Brisbane Paralympic Football Program has been Football Queensland’s endorsed Inclusive Football Provider for over a decade.

“We have had a partnership with FQ for many years, and I have no doubt that this renewed commitment will take the BPFP to the next level,” Larkin said.

“We are delighted that FQ will help us promote all abilities football through their media and marketing team as well as providing coaching and financial support to send our team to Nationals.

“It is an exciting time to be involved in all abilities football and after years of hard work in Brisbane we are determined to grow the game in partnership with FQ to new markets around the state.

“Football is Queensland’s game of choice, for all, for life, and we can’t wait to get started at FQ headquarters at Meakin Park.”

Those interested in seeking further information about Queensland’s Para-Football Program or All Abilities Football can contact FQ at allabilities@footballqueensland.com.au.

Funding for female changerooms a top priority for NSW Government

The NSW Government has made female changerooms a top priority for funding in Round Four of its Stronger Country Communities Fund.

The NSW Government has made female changerooms a top priority for funding when $100 million is spread across regional NSW in Round Four of its Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Football has applauded the move, allowing female sporting teams in regional NSW to benefit from new and improved facilities, with 50% of the fund devoted towards female changeroom facilities and programs.

“We are delighted the NSW Government has chosen to invest in female sporting programs and facilities at such a vital time for football. The hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ has sparked an even greater surge of demand for football facilities – many of which are already bursting at the seams. Investment in our facilities is vital to keep up with demand,” Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge said.

Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland says the announcement aligns perfectly with football’s needs, following the release of a state-wide Infrastructure Strategy in March 2020. This highlighted the requirement for significant investment in facilities, especially for female football over the next decade, as there’s a projected increase in female participation.

“As the state’s largest sport, football is experiencing unprecedented increase in female football. The number of women and girls playing football has risen by 11% in the past year alone,” he said.

Football Australia CEO James Johnson highlights Football Australia’s intention of having 50/50 female participation by 2027, helped massively by the hosting of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 and it’s Legacy ‘23 Plan.

“Our Legacy ’23 Plan is a long-term project extending far beyond the final match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023TM and we are determined to elevate the women’s game to even greater heights – ultimately for Australia to become the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

“To do this we have identified several time critical initiatives to kick-start Legacy ‘23 which are aligned to our XI Principles and focus on facilities and infrastructure, high performance, participation, and international engagement.

“Building and upgrading community facilities and infrastructure forms part of a key pillar of the Legacy ’23 plan, to help address the existing facilities gap we are experiencing around Australia, and also plan for the influx of 400,000 women and girls we are expecting to be playing the sport of football by 2027.

“Currently of our 2,500 football clubs in Australia, only one in five of these facilities are female friendly.

“Football is committed to working with Clubs, Local Councils and stakeholders to secure funding for the sport. It is integral for football that we ensure existing venues can be used at full capacity, with inclusive facilities, through proper planning for future growth via partnerships with government at all levels and industry partners.”

Facts on Female Football Facilities across New South Wales:

  • 24% of venues DO NOT have change facilities (248 venue)
  • 76% of venues have change room facilities (766 venues). Of these venues:
    • 76% are NOT female friendly
    • 60% have open showers and are not suitable for males or females in the 21st century
    • 48% of change rooms are in either moderate or poor condition
  • 62% of venues in NSW do NOT have a referee’s room
  • Only 36% of venues have a referee’s room
    • 73% of referee rooms are NOT female friendly
    • 44% of referee rooms are in moderate or poor condition
    • 51% of showers in referee rooms are either unlockable or open

Round 4 applications for the Stronger Country Communities Fund opened on May 1, 2021 and you can find it here.

Football Coaches Australia present ‘The Football Coaching Life Podcast’ #8 with Gary Cole interviewing Joe Montemurro

Joe Montemurro is currently the manager of Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League, where he has decided to step down at the end of the season.

Joe Montemurro is currently the manager of Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League, where he has decided to step down at the end of the season to have a well-deserved break, recharge, refresh and review.

Joe has transformed Arsenal since his arrival in 2017 and has won the Championship, the League Cup, been runners up in the FA Cup and the League Cup and made the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.

This conversation reveals Joe’s very humble personality and looks at his journey from coaching juniors at his beloved Brunswick Juventus in the Victorian Premier League, through to Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City in the W League before taking up the incredible challenge with Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League.

He discusses coach education in both Australia and Italy and his experiences in the differences from ‘how to coach’ to ‘what to coach’. He also discusses how his coaching has changed and matured over the journey and the importance of resilience when being under the spotlight for coaches.

Joe was humble, open and honest and clear about wanting to build a legacy by leaving each club and team he has worked at in a better place than when he arrived.

Please join FCA in sharing Joe Montemurro’s Football Coaching Life.

https://thefootballcoachinglifepodcast.podbean.com/e/joe-montemurro/

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