Soccer a women's sport too
SOCCER has landed the latest blow in the turf war between the female sporting codes following the introduction of a Westlawn Second Division side.
Hockey and netball have long reigned supreme in the battle for playing numbers in the Clarence but the round ball game has a team full of troops ready for the fight.
A blend of youth and experience – with players aging between 16 and 36 – will step onto the park for Westlawn in the North Coast Football League in 2010. It is the first time the club will field a women’s senior side and will join South Services and Maclean in the regional league.
Former Matilda player Jo Powell will assume a player/ coach role with the club.
“Women don’t believe they have the chance to play but this shows that they do now,” Powell said.
“With the Supa Oldie Soccer and futsal competitions starting there is some real interest in the game.
“A lot of the girls that play in it are quite good but didn’t have a place to start - they had nowhere to go.”
Powell retired from the sport 10 years ago after narrowly missing a place in the Olympic squad but ‘barring any more injuries’ will lace up the boots for a 2010 cameo.
But with local products Maddy Kinnear and Jess Edwards earning places in the North Coast Academy of Sport (NCAS) – as well as the development of the W-League – interest continues to grow in women’s soccer.
“It’s coming on in leaps and bounds,” Powell said.
“I can’t believe even in the time I have been retired how much the game has progressed in terms of opportunities and skills and coaching.
“Things like the NCAS didn’t exist.”
Not many local sides can list a former international on their coaching staff. But Powell feels ‘pivotal’ coaching is also keeping pace with the game’s development.
“I’m a firm believer that if you have something to offer you go out and help,” she said.
“We haven’t got a full squad yet but that’s because a lot of people don’t know about us. Being a new club we will play in the Second Division but I think we can look at playing higher next season if we can get promoted.
“I think they are going to be quite competitive.”
The team trains on Tuesdays at Barnier Park at 6pm and Thursdays at McKittrick Park at 4.30pm.
For those interested in playing contact Jo Powell on 0408 964 884.