LISA DE VANNA

THE VET­ERAN STAR AND LEAD­ING GOAL-SCORER IN IN­TER­NA­TION­ALS AMONG AUS­TRALIAN WOMEN IS A KEY PIECE FOR THE MATIL­DAS, WHO LOOK AHEAD TO A WORLD CUP CAM­PAIGN NEXT YEAR. BUT FIRST, THE BUSI­NESS OF A DO­MES­TIC SEA­SON WITH SYD­NEY FC …

Inside Sport - - One On One With . . . - – An­gela Bacic

There has been a buzz around the W-League this sea­son, more so than usual. A lot has hap­pened in the o -sea­son, lots of ar­rivals and de­par­tures along with steps taken to im­prove the league through pro­mo­tion and cov­er­age. What are some of the things you’re look­ing for­ward to?

There have been a lot of changes. We’ve taken a lot of steps for­ward with the W-League this year, with the Who’s Your Hero cam­paign for ex­am­ple, which I think is fan­tas­tic be­cause it gives the kids an op­por­tu­nity to see the big play­ers come out and play. A lot of the Matil­das are now back play­ing W-League and Fox Sports have jumped on board as well. All the games will be tele­vised or streamed, which has never hap­pened be­fore. Also, with Sam Kerr as the mar­quee, it shows that the game is mov­ing for­ward.

You’ve been in this league a long time now. It is your 11th sea­son and you’ve played across a num­ber of clubs. Are you op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of the W-League? You men­tioned Sam Kerr’s mar­quee deal, the new stream­ing deal – do you think the W-League will end up be­ing a fully pro­fes­sional league in the next five-to-ten years?

I hope so, but that all comes down to the suc­cess of the Matil­das. If you look at the US, the Ger­mans, the French, the English, it all comes from how suc­cess­ful they are in the World Cups and in the Olympics and these other ma­jor tour­na­ments. You win the hearts of the na­tion, all the lit­tle girls see the Matil­das and then they all want to play foot­ball.

It then all feeds oˆ of that. If we can con­tinue as a na­tion to grow, be­cause at the mo­ment we’re not a no.1 sport, but we can make it the no.1 sport for fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion. I think it can hap­pen, but it comes down to the grass­roots game, and in­vest­ing a bit more money and time into the fu­ture of women’s foot­ball.

You’ve had your fair share of World Cup cam­paigns. With the next one only eight months away, now is the time for Aus­tralian play­ers to be se­cur­ing their spots on the plane to France. Will that make this sea­son more com­pet­i­tive?

Well a lot of [cur­rent Matil­das] play­ers are con­tracted for the next eight months, but this sea­son is re­ally for the young ones who have had a taste of an op­por­tu­nity to go to France. Those are the ones you have to watch out for; those who are border­line and want­ing to go. Younger play­ers and play­ers who are in and out of the na­tional team camp, those are the ones you’ve got to look out for and they’re the ones who are go­ing to have the hunger. The es­tab­lished Matil­das play­ers are here to grow the league and in­di­vid­u­ally play at their best for their clubs, so it’s a bit of both. I think there will be some un­known names who could come for­ward and sur­prise peo­ple.

You win the hearts of the na­tion, all the lit­tle girls see the Matil­das and then they all want to play foot­ball. It then all feeds off of that.

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