Sports

Soccer’s World-beating MATILDAS to call Melbourne home

A purpose-built Home of the Matildas will be created in Melbourne’s north, providing a Victorian launching pad for the Australian women’s soccer team, ahead of a 2023 FIFA World Cup to be contested on home soil.

An historic $101.1 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 has secured the state-of-the-art facility for La Trobe University’s Bundoora Sports Park in a major advancement for women’s sport in Australia.

The next Sam Kerr or Aaron Mooy will also be able to hone their skills on Bundoora’s fields, with the centre to host Football Victoria’s high-performance program for young soccer stars as well as its administration base. Grassroots clubs will have access to the centre’s pitches and community-level programs, including training for volunteers and administrators, referees and coaches conducted on-site.

The Andrews Labor Government last year invested $1.5 million to plan for the facility, which will boast a marquee pitch with grandstand seating, four other pitches, and high-performance facilities including a gymnasium and wet recovery area, medical and rehabilitation centre, meeting areas and player lounge.
With the Federal Government having pitched in $15 million towards the project, the Labor Government’s investment means work will now begin on detailed designsfor the Home of the Matildas, which will also incorporate the Victorian State Rugby Centre.

Construction is expected to start in December and be completed in time for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be played across Australia and New Zealand in July and August. Five World Cup games will be played at Melbourne’s AAMI Park, including a quarter final.

Not only will this investment create new jobs during construction, it will also reaffirm our state’s reputation as the nation’s sporting capital – and support the thousands of Victorians employed in our sports industry.

Soccer participation in Victoria has been growing strongly – particularly among women and girls.

The most recent Ausplay data showed the number of females playing club-based soccer in Victoria had more than doubled in five years to 55,000, including 25,000 girls.

As part of the commitment, pitch use will be offered to community clubs at a discounted rate, and La Trobe students will enjoy free access to the facilities for around 20 hours a week.

This will mean more than 6,000 hours of use over an average year by the national teams and development pathway programs – including approximately 140 days of use by the Matildas.

The Victorian State Rugby Centre will boast a show pitch with grandstand seating and two additional pitches, along with high performance facilities including a gymnasium, sport science, medical and recovery areas and a training and match day home for the Melbourne Rebels’ Super W team.
Since 2014, the Labor Government has invested more than $1 billion in community sports infrastructure, including female friendly facilities, improving access and opportunity for women and girls of all ages and abilities across the state.

WORLD GAME GRANTS DELIVER BIG-TIME FOR LOCAL FOOTBALLERS

More soccer players across Victoria will be practicing their passing at new and improved facilities with the Andrews Labor Government kicking in more than $3.8 million for 11 new community football infrastructure projects.

Minister for Community Sport Ros Spence announced crucial support for new female-friendly change rooms at the home of the Diamond Valley Soccer Club – Partington Flats in Greensborough. Players, volunteers and supporters on the Bellarine Peninsula (at Leopold), Box Hill, Bacchus Marsh and Corio are also among beneficiaries of grants awarded from the World Game Facilities Fund.

More than 456,000 men, women, boys and girls were registered to play soccer before the pandemic – the grants will help football clubsretain players and attract new participants with new facilities replacing ageing infrastructure.

Since 2018, the Fund has invested $13.2 million in 48 game-changing infrastructure projects with a total value of more than $41 million. The next round of the World Game Facilities Fund will open for applications in August 2021.