World at their feet

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

AS a trio of Perth stars and their Matil­das team­mates com­pete for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a new gen­er­a­tion of WA girls are stop­ping and tak­ing no­tice.

IN back­yards and parks all around Perth, young girls are em­u­lat­ing the na­tional sports stars cur­rently be­ing splashed across their tele­vi­sion screens.

Perth trio Sam Kerr, Ly­dia Wil­liams and Lisa De Vanna and their Matil­das team­mates are among the favourites in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and as tele­vi­sions around WA broad­cast the skills of the world num­ber 6 Aus­tralians, young girls are stop­ping and tak­ing no­tice.

And that, Foot­ball West chief ex­ec­u­tive James Curtis says, can only be a good thing.

“West Aussies like Kerr, De Vanna and Wil­liams play a mas­sive part in grow­ing the sport; they are iden­ti­fi­able to lo­cal play­ers who dream of mak­ing it to the top,” he said.

“The growth and pop­u­lar­ity of the game broadly and par­tic­u­larly for fe­males in WA is un­de­ni­able, and it cre­ates a great op­por­tu­nity for gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rates to get be­hind the game and cre­ate a legacy for cur­rent and fu­ture girls and boys.”

Mr Curtis said af­ter a 38 per cent growth in fe­male soc­cer par­tic­i­pa­tion num­bers be­tween 2016 and 2018, al­most 40,000 women and girls now played the sport in WA.

He said Foot­ball West’s aim was to achieve a 50:50 gen­der tar­get by 2027.

Fre­man­tle City Foot­ball Club (FCFC) is reap­ing the ben­e­fits of that par­tic­i­pa­tion in­crease, with 12 teams from U10s to Women’s pre­mier grade, as well as the Miniroos pro­gram for un­der-nine year olds.

FCFC women’s and girls com­mit­tee chair­woman Michelle Rich said things had changed a lot since she was a 10-year-old and had to play along­side the boys.

“We are one of the largest women’s clubs in the Perth metro area, a la­bel that we are proud to hold, with teams in ev­ery di­vi­sion south of the river,” she said.

“Hav­ing this level of depth in our teams al­lows FCFC to give a path­way that suits each and ev­ery player’s devel­op­ment needs and goals.”

D493912

Clau­dia D'Souza, from Fre­man­tle City Foot­ball Club, in ac­tion. Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d493912

Clau­dia D'Souza, Emily Hallewell, Frances Noske, Mag­gie Noske and Jes­sica Han­cock.

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