The most significant infrastructure accomplishment in the history of Australian football, The Home of The Matildas at La Trobe University, is now officially ready to support the ambitions of the CommBank Matildas ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023TM.
Formally opened today by Steve Dimopoulos, Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, the much-anticipated precinct will host the CommBank Matildas this month as they prepare for their FIFA Women’s World CupTM ‘Send-Off Match’ against France at Marvel Stadium on July 14.
The project was funded as part of a $101 million investment by the Andrews’ Labor Government into the La Trobe University Sports Park, with the $42.29 million for The Home of The Matildas – the biggest investment ever made by any level of government for a football-specific project in Australia – made in addition to the Federal Government’s contribution of $15 million.
Designed by leading female architects to assist our elite sports women taking on the world, the precinct features two state-of-the-art hybrid turf pitches, two FIFA-grade synthetic pitches (with another to be constructed later this year), twelve change rooms (including the CommBank Matildas’ own, customised changing room), a fully-equipped gym, outstanding medical facilities, modern wet recovery areas, premium function rooms, coaching development spaces and a boutique, 800-seat grandstand with elevated sight lines.
The facility will deliver an experience unparalleled in Australian football and has been designed with the aspiration of becoming the finest female-focused facility in Asia, a living testament to Football Victoria’s goal of achieving gender equity in football by 2027.
However, it is not only the elite who will benefit - hundreds of community footballers will have the opportunity to train and play on the same fields as their heroes, creating a tangible pathway from the grassroots to the elite at one single venue for the very first time.
The drive for equity extends well beyond the details embedded in the facility design, with all partnerships and service providers asked to demonstrate their commitment to gender equity, cementing this venue as a hub for inclusion, growth and change.
Steve Dimopoulos, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events stated the facility will have a major impact at both the professional and grassroots levels.
“This facility will provide a training base in Australia for the likes of Sam Kerr and Steph Catley, but more importantly it will help to develop the next generation of champions inspired by this year’s Women’s World Cup.”
Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, echoed those sentiments.
“The Home of the Matildas will provide our most talented Australian Women’s National Team footballers and staff the opportunity to thrive and a place of excellence for the next generation to develop.”
Football Victoria Head of Marketing, Engagement and Legacy, Mandy McCarter celebrated the monumental moment in Victorian football history.
"It is our hope The Home Of The Matildas becomes more than just a football precinct and that it becomes a symbol of empowerment, opportunity, and equality."
"It sends a powerful message to the world that in Australia, we value and celebrate female talent and achievement,"
Professor John Dewar AO, Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University welcomed the official opening.
“I’m thrilled to welcome the CommBank Matildas to our exceptional new Sports Park facilities and, on behalf of the entire La Trobe University community, I wish the team every success in the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™.”
The precinct will officially host the Jamaican Women’s National Football Team during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™ before converting to a Venue Specific Training Site (VSTS) and welcoming a further national team in August, showcasing this incredible piece of infrastructure to the world.
The facility will then become the home base for Victoria’s major football programs as part of the venue’s designation as the State Football Centre.
Following FIFA Women’s World CupTM duties, the first publicly-accessible event at the precinct will be the showcase event of women’s football in Victoria, the 2023 Nike FC Cup Final on Sunday, August 13.
All-abilities football is also set to receive a major boost, with The Home Of The Matildas to play host to the 2023 IFCPF Asia-Oceania Championships (Para Asia Cup) from October 31. The tournament will mark another significant milestone for female football, as it will be the first iteration of the Para Asia Cup to feature a women’s competition.
The Victorian football community will soon be able to access the facility via a booking system to be launched in September.
Attention will quickly turn to completing Stage Two of the precinct, with aspirations for further grandstand seating and community facilities to support the needs of footballers across Victoria, Australia and internationally.