Coming together to celebrate world game

Girl power: Traralgon Olympians Soccer Club and Sale United Football Club's GO Soccer Mums teams. Photograph supplied




SALE United Football Club defeated hosts Traralgon Olympians Soccer Club 1-0 in the inaugural GO Soccer Mums Gippsland Cup on Sunday, April 2.

Sale’s Jenny McGuinness scored the winning goal just minutes before the final whistle.

Football Victoria’s introductory soccer program designed specifically for women, GO Soccer Mums, offers participants a fun, active and supportive setting to meet new people and learn basic football skills in a social, judgement-free environment.

Decades of evidence highlight the inequities and barriers women and girls in sport and active recreation have and continue to endure, the effects filtering from grassroots levels through to professional competitions.

Football Victoria chief executive Kimon Taliadoros said his role is to influence change, not only at FV but throughout the industry.

“Our target of 50/50 gender balance by 2027 depends on the most senior sports administrators around the country making a conscious mental shift to develop women leaders at all levels in our game – players, coaches, referees and administrators,” Taliadoros said.

“I plan to lead this change as we have clearly outlined in our strategic plan that women and girls is a key focus area and integrated within all our strategic pillars.”

Rather than continually focusing on the injustices, Football Victoria is tackling the root of the problem, focusing on implementing ways to improve the status quo, and change the systems and thought processes that have impeded access and opportunity in the first place.

And so GO Soccer Mums was established.

Don’t be fooled by the name; GO Soccer Mums is open to all women from age 15, regardless of skill level, whether you’re a ground zero beginner or an ex-Matildas player.

Traralgon Olympians, the GO Soccer Mums Gippsland Cup hosting team, organised sponsors for the inaugural event, who provided drink bottles, fresh fruit and veggies, a smoothie blender bike and medals for first place, second place and third place teams.

With Football Victoria’s target of 50/50 gender balance by 2027, FV growth and inclusion executive manager, Karen Pearce, said the sustainable growth of women and girl’s football will be dependent on the entire football family to embrace, commit, support, acknowledge and strive towards ensuring a more gender-balanced landscape.

Programs like the recently initiated GO Soccer Mums program are a step in the right direction.

“We must understand and support the differences people bring to football and address each need based on personal, social and environmental factors that impede participation,” Pearce said.

“We must then use this knowledge to ensure traditional and non-traditional methods of engagement are available at all life stages.”