It isn’t just Australia’s women’s national soccer team who are kicking goals … a growing number of girls are turning to soccer.
Figures from the Football Federation Victoria website say one in every six registered soccer players in Victoria is female.
And Sunbury United president Paul DiBlasi says the Matilda’s success in reaching the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup in Canada has just added to the push for girls to sign up to the ‘world game’.
“We’ve definitely been pushing female participation,” he says. “We’re keen to promote the sport and we want more girls to get involved.
“We have an open-age female team, which includes girls of 15 and 16. In our junior sides we normally have two to three girls in each age group.”
He says the number of girls at the club has increased by five per cent in the past year.
And 15 per cent of all the players at his club are female – up from 10 per cent last year.
“I’m a father of four girls and I want to see a full girls’ team at the club in future,” DiBlasi says.
“We’re close to getting some all-girl sides for next season. And if we could double the number of girls in 2016 that would be really good. It is achievable.”
He says girls as young as five are joining the club.
“We get them straight into teams with coaches to get them going. It’s best to start as young as possible. A lot of the younger ones at the club are girls.”
DiBlasi says the club realises that girls and boys place a different emphasis on the game.
“It’s more a social thing for girls,” he says. “When the girls are in the same age group we try to keep them together and they go through the sides together.
“Our under-10 teams are both in mixed competitions and we have kept the four girls in that age group together in the one team.”
Sunbury United’s Sunday state league 1 north-west match away at Preston Lions was abandoned after two minutes when Sunbury’s Aaron Turner suffered a broken leg.
Turner fractured the tibia and fibula and dislocated his ankle. He left the field in an ambulance. The match will be rescheduled because less than half of the game had been played.