Sydney FC launch ‘vital’ Women’s World Cup legacy project: How it will work

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Sydney FC have launched their ‘Female Football Pathway‘ as the Liberty A-League champions try to provide more opportunities for female footballers following the World Cup.

After Sky Blues star Cortnee Vine and the Matildas captivated a nation during their semi-final run at the FIFA Women’s World Cup last month, Sydney are looking to build on that success by providing a pathway between grassroots football and the professional game.

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The ‘Female Football Pathway’ will help close the gap on the current lack of opportunities for girls to transition from the grassroots scene to a professional environment as Vine and the Matildas inspire the next generation.

“I’ve chosen to stay here for multiple reasons,” Vine told reporters on Tuesday.

“The A-League is a great league and I’ve said it in a lot of media interviews, it pushes me to be better and I wouldn’t be in the position I am now if it wasn’t for the A-League.

“It’s just going to continue to get better and better.

“Building on the momentum from the World Cup, we’re hoping that the young girls come through and also want to be Matildas and play for Sydney FC.”

Vine was a key part of the Matildas team that became the first senior Australian national team to reach a World Cup semi-final before falling to old rivals England in the final four.

“What an amazing tournament. I’m walking down the street now and everyone knows who I am and who I play for,” she reflected.

“It’s amazing. It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening for women’s football in Australia especially.

“It puts a big smile on my face thinking about how many people came to the games and how many Aussies got around it and watched it from home.

“I hope the momentum just keeps building into the Liberty A-League.”

“We want to create the best elite pathway in women’s football and provide a clear vision for the best young female footballers to transition into a professional career,” said Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow, with the Sky Blues due to kick-off their title defence against Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium on October 14.

“Young, talented girls should have the same opportunities as boys to play football professionally and we are committed to developing the next Sky Blues and Matildas.

“It is clear what an enormous impact the Women’s World Cup had on our country and it is vital we invest in the development of future generations of female footballers.”

Sydney’s elite pathway starts at the new Sky Blues Female Training Program and from there it leads into the Sydney FC Development Squad before promotion into the club’s A-League Women’s team.

Girls aged between 11-13 are eligible to express an interest in joining the Female Training Program, which is split into two separate training programs at Sydney FC’s training base of Sky Park and Sutherland Shire.

The Development Squad features girls aged 14-16, who are scouted through the Female Training Program and competitive games at local clubs, while they will work closely with the A-League Women squad in pursuit of professional contracts.

“The Women’s World Cup showed us what we can do without pathways such as this, so imagine what we can do with it?” Vine said.

“It will be of enormous benefit to Sydney FC and the Matildas, with more chance of success in the future.

“It’s also hugely important to give young girls the best opportunity of a professional career in football which is what this will provide.”

Sydney FC legend Teresa Polias added: “Increased opportunities for professional training between the ages of 11 and 16 will lead to more girls staying in the game, creating greater competition and better players.

“It’s common practice in many countries around the world so it’s important we don’t fall behind, particularly given the recent surge in interest in memberships in the Liberty A-League.”