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 …
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 o 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.