Football Victoria's Emerging Matildas Program

Football Victoria’s newest program is being revealed to assist the development of aspiring elite female footballers.

The Football Victoria Emerging Matildas program, formally endorsed by Football Federation Australia (FFA), has been established to discover and prepare future players for the Westfield Matildas.

The program will provide players an opportunity to train within a high-level professional environment with the objective to bridge the gap into the Westfield Matildas.

The Westfield Matildas Head Coach, Ante Milicic, who is currently preparing his troops for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, acknowledges 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 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”

The program will allow Victorian based players to undertake training in a high-performance environment without the need to relocate interstate or overseas.  Players will have access to coaching and support staff with prior experience of Australian National Senior and Youth Team programs across Men and Women.

Football Victoria (FV) CEO, Peter Filopoulos, is proud of the new program and believes it is yet another step forward for women’s football in this state.

“It’s an exciting initiative and provides a genuine opportunity for our young talented female players here in Victoria. Participation amongst Women and Girls is experiencing unprecedented growth with our ambition for 50/50 gender balance by 2027. The emerging Matildas program will play a crucial role in the talent development pathway for women and girls in Victoria.”

“Plans are already in place to base the program out of the future National Training Centre and Home of the Westfield Matildas that we announced earlier this month.”

The program will be run part-time (one session a week) for the initial year in 2019 with the projection of going full-time in 2020. The 2019 program will primarily be targeted at players between the ages of 18-22 (2001-1997 born) with the allowance for identified players outside of this age bracket.

Football Federation Australia’s Emma Highwood and Luke Casserly are delighted to see Football Victoria launch the new program and are eager to see it evolve into a full-time program in 2020.

Emma Highwood stated “This is a win-win for the FFA, not only will we have a solution for the next generation of Westfield Matildas, it will also allow our current Victorian based Westfield Matildas a place to train outside of the Westfield W-League season when they are not overseas.”

Luke Casserly revealed “We have been discussing for a long time a lack of opportunity for young players, in both men’s and women’s football, this initiative by Football Victoria is a genuine solution to address this issue”

The Emerging Matildas program will be run by Football Victoria’s Technical Department, overseen by FV Technical Director, Boris Seroshtan, managed by FV Talent Development Manager, Annick Fokchak, with Michael McBride appointed as Head Coach of the program.

Boris Seroshtan is pleased to be in a position now to bring this concept to life and is looking forward to supporting the next crop of Matildas.

“With Michael parting ways with the Socceroos and Joeys after the World Cup in Russia last year, we are very happy to be able to involve him in our programs again”

“His knowledge and understanding of player requirements at the highest level, both in youth and senior football, was fundamental in our decision to hire him for this role”

“We believe he can help bridge the gap for the next crop of Matildas”

“You can now clearly see the dividends paying off for players such as Sebastian Pasquali, Christian Theoharous & Denis Genreau from their time spent here with Michael at the National Training Centre (NTC) in Victoria”

Football Victoria can also announce the coaching support staff of Melissa Lum, Dean Sacchetta and Helen Winterburn, Sharna Naidu as the Performance Analyst and Elise Elsworth as the Head Physiotherapist within the program for 2019.

Player selection for 2019 will be on an invitational basis only. Selected players will be required to train one night a week with the Emerging Matildas Squad while continuing to train and play matches with their current club.