NSW football funding giving more girls better pathways

A new round of funding for football in New South Wales has the community abuzz.

The NSW Government announced the NSW Football Legacy Program, boosting football in all levels across the state to help capitalise on next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Some clubs have already enjoyed a funding hit, like western Sydney club Rydalmere Lions FC.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Liberal candidate for Parramatta, Maria Kovacic announced on Wednesday that the club would be receiving $3 million in funding for improved facilities.

The funding will be put towards new changerooms for players and referees alike, both male and female, as well as rooms for physios, medical staff, a canteen, a store room, and ice baths for both home and away teams.

There are also plans to put a grandstand in place, as well as undercover seating, offices and a media outlet which will all be a priority.

Club President Peter Bacha is confident that the funding will help the club in it’s goal to provide better pathways for its female players.

“It’s a big project, and that’s going to help especially with the female side of football in our area. We’re looking for a pathway, and we keep getting knocked back to get our female state league license,” Bacha told Soccerscene.

“There’s a lot of girls that are missing out, and that’s all we’re missing at the club.

“A lot of girls come through the ranks in the mixed competition in our association, but you’re only allowed to have a maximum of four girls in the mixed team, and then there’s nowhere else to go after under 12s.

“We’ve got one or two girls that are to me, future Matildas, but there’s no pathways for them.”

The Rydalmere FC under 9s on CommBank Stadium at half time of a clash between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix.

With a senior girls team and a ‘massive stadium’ on the cards, Bacha believes both he and the club will give the girls the best chance to succeed.

But it’s not Rydalmere that needs to up their support of women’s football, he says. Every club in the region will benefit from the level of funding across the state.

“It’s not just going to help our club, it’s going to help all the clubs within the Granville & Districts Football Association,” Bacha continued.

“There’s a lot of girls that are missing out, and it’s an opportunity for them. Female football here in Australia is really strong and has to be kept that way.”

Football NSW celebrated 100 years of women’s football at the end of 2021, on the anniversary of the first game played at the Gabba in September, 1921.

A Football Australia report from the end of 2019 saw female participation in football grow by 11%, with women and girls now making up 22% of all footballers in the country.

Increasing these levels of participation will be done by continuing to invest in the facilities of all clubs, according to Bacha.

The Rydalmere FC under 9s team outside Commbank Stadium in Parramatta.

“If other funding is going to come, upgrade the fields and the amenities blocks,” he said.

“It is so important now. I don’t expect every park to have a synthetic pitch, but the government needs to help them with their drainage, which we’ve done now with our other two fields.

“There’s a lot of places that don’t have amenities blocks, and that detracts from people going into the sport for those clubs.

“Since we started a lot of these projects, our numbers have escalated from having about 10 teams to 40 teams. We were one of the smallest clubs and now we’re one of the biggest clubs representing the whole area.

“Money has to go back to the kids, it’s about family. If the facilities on the parks are up there, then we can match it with the rest of the world.”

Football Australia set to honour Socceroos 100th anniversary

Socceroos centenary

Football Australia will celebrate the Centenary of the Australian men’s national team on June 17 of this year.

The date marks the 100th anniversary of the Socceroos’ first ever match when a team coached by Alf Morgan – and captained by Alex Gibb – took on New Zealand in Dunedin.

Players from New South Wales and Queensland were chosen for the tour which consisted of 14 games, including three ‘Tests’ against New Zealand. New Zealand won the first game of the series 3-1, with the history books highlighting that William Maunder became the first man to score for Australia when he found the back of the net shortly before half time.

Throughout the remainder of 2022, Football Australia will be acknowledging this significant milestone in Australian sport with a program of activities, events, and initiatives, including the possibility of hosting a celebratory match featuring the Socceroos and New Zealand’s All Whites later in the year.

“The Socceroos are arguably Australia’s most identifiable and popular national sporting team, both at home and abroad, uniting the nation like no other sporting team,” Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said in a statement.

“2022 marks the Centenary year of the Australian men’s national team, and since formation, the Socceroos have embodied the spirit of Australia, a local team forged through hard times and adversity, always punching above their weight on the global stage who pull on the green and gold jersey with great pride and a steely sense of responsibility.

“Throughout 2022, Football Australia will pay homage to the players and personalities involved in the Australian men’s national team over the past one hundred years through a series of initiatives, including the unveiling of the Socceroos’ Team of the Century.

“The Socceroos are Australia’s team, and we hope that the Australian football family and supporters alike join Football Australia in celebrating the rich history of the Australian men’s national team during this special Centenary year.”

The first item to be unveiled as part of the program of activities is a coffee-table book titled, “Socceroos: 100 Years of Camaraderie and Courage”, curated by Are Media Books in connection with Football Australia.

Football Australia’s and the Socceroos’ websites and social media channels will also pay tribute to both past and present Socceroos, with an ongoing series of digital and written interviews and features, podcasts, galleries, and interactive experiences to be shared throughout the year.

Football Tasmania welcomes further $3.5m Valley Road commitment

Football Tasmania has welcomed Tuesday’s announcement by the Liberal Party that it will commit $3.5 million towards the redevelopment of Valley Road if elected after May 21.

Announced by Member for Braddon, Gavin Pearce, the funding would allow Devonport Strikers to complete Stage One of its redevelopment of Valley Road, including increased seating, lighting and pitch upgrades, as well as refurbished clubroom and kitchen facilities.

The funding would be in addition to the State Government funding committed to Valley Road to give the venue the best chance of being selected to host 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup basecamps.

Football Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley thanked Pearce for supporting the growth of football in Devonport and the north west coast.

“As the home of one of the state’s most successful clubs in Devonport Strikers, Valley Road is an iconic Tasmanian football venue and the premier facility on the north-west coast,” Bulkeley told Football Tasmania.

“Football continues to go from strength-to-strength in the region, and these upgrades will help the venue keep pace, allowing for further growth of the game in Devonport and surrounds.

“Improved facilities will also put Valley Road in contention to host A-League men’s and women’s games, which would be a great and deserved addition to the north-west sporting calendar.

“On behalf of the Tasmanian football community I thank Mr Pearce for this commitment.

“Sporting upgrades such as this bring so much to the community and we encourage Labor to follow suit to ensure the growth of football continues on the north-west regardless of the election result.”

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