Football Victoria's investment in women's football took an important step today with the launch of an elite development pathway for the state's female football stars of the future - the Emerging Matildas program. The initiative was officially unveiled by Federal Treasurer and Member for Kooyong, The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP at the Boroondara Eagles Football Club in Melbourne.
The program is focused on developing female players aged 17 and above and provides elite training and development opportunities for players from across the state, with a view to facilitating opportunities into the national team set-up for Victoria's talented female footballers.
Football Federation Australia Chairman, Chris Nikou, said the launch of the Emerging Matildas Program demonstrated that Victoria was leading the way in the development of the women's game. "Just this week we saw the release of Ausplay statistics highlighting football as the most popular organised sport in Australia - including among women and girls".
"It's programs like Football Victoria's Emerging Matildas program that ensure the game remains strong into the future, and that every girl across the state has the opportunity to live their football dream", he said.
Football Victoria President, Kimon Taliadoros, said that the launch of the Emerging Matildas program was part of a suite of initiatives designed to keep women's football at the forefront of female sport in Australia.
"The women's game presents the greatest opportunity for football, and we're proud to be leading the way. It's why we're pursuing other exciting initiatives like the establishment of a dedicated home of football for the Matildas - junior and senior in Victoria."
Mr Taliadoros also said that while Victoria was making significant progress with the women's game, bridging the facilities funding gap was a critical priority. "We're partnering with governments at every level to ensure we have the investment that enables the sport to capitalise on its incredible popularity", he said.
Westfield Matildas Head Coach Ante Milicic, who is currently preparing his squad for the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup in France, said that he and his fellow National Team coaches are on the lookout for potential players with an eye on the next World Cup in 2023.
"Victoria has always been a rich breeding ground for talented young footballers and the Emerging Matildas program will help identify potential players and bring them one step closer to our National Teams", he said.