On International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating another year of important female football milestones on and off the pitch.
Our Westfield W-League team continues to achieve excellence on the pitch and inspire the next generation of female footballers.
W-League Captain, Natasha Dowie, helped Victory hoist the 2018/19 Premiers Plate and will be looking to secure the club more silverware with the team one step away from playing in the 2020 Grand Final.
The England International took the opportunity to share some simple but valuable advice for young girls who aspire to play football professionally.
“Firstly, you have to love what you do,” Dowie said.
“Play with a smile on your face, want to learn and ask your coach lots of questions.”
“Work hard and train hard, for me that’s something that I will continue to do and that’s why we play this beautiful sport.”
Victory has seen plenty of its W-League stars front and centre on the world stage.
Jenna McCormick and Teagan Micah have been called up to the Matildas and Annalie Longo has been selected for New Zealand.
Vice-Captain and Matilda, Laura Brock, also took the time to reflect on the continual growth of women’s football.
“Being a leader in women’s football has been incredible,” Brock said.
“I’ve had a twelve-year career and I’ve seen the women’s game grow from nothing. It started where we barely got paid to it now being a fully professional career.”
“Having the opportunity to play on the same stage as the men and have us striving towards equality has been amazing.”
The club’s passion to help achieve equality stretches far beyond the football pitch and is deeply entrenched through its community programs and partnerships.
The key highlight across the community space was the ground-breaking Women’s U-NITE Cup.
The inaugural tournament featured teams made up of women from a diverse range of communities, including Afghanistan, Mauritius, Columbia, Turkey and Iraq - 65% of participants who competed were born overseas.
Victory’s Female Engagement Manager Gulcan Koca said the women who competed in the tournament were inspiring.
“The overarching purpose of the U-NITE Cup is to bring Melbourne’s diverse communities together through a common interest and passion,” Koca said.
“This tournament created a space where all females no matter what age, race or religion could come together to play and enjoy football.
“Some of these communities are very traditional, and in the past, women haven’t been allowed to play sport.
“The U-NITE Cup has provided women from these communities with the opportunity to not only play football but create an important stepping-stone for others to follow in their communities.”
Following the success of the first Women’s U-NITE Cup, the club is also close to launching the first iteration of its Female Masterclass.
Aimed at inspiring the stars of the future to be the best they can be, Victory’s Female Masterclass is a complete football experience for girls 6-14 years of age and will be rolled out across Altona North and Keysborough.