World at their feet
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.”
Claudia D'Souza, from Fremantle City Football Club, in action. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Claudia D'Souza, Emily Hallewell, Frances Noske, Maggie Noske and Jessica Hancock.