MORE than 160 players will be competing on the Northern Redbacks Women’s Soccer Club’s home ground in Balga this weekend.
Fourteen teams from under-14s through to the premier league will play at Celebration Park on April 28, which will likely be the largest number of female footballers playing in WA on one day outside competitions like Country Week.
The premier league team will play a night series grand final rematch against Queens Park.
Under-18s coach Neil Bennett said the club was delighted to have all teams play at home, as it was a “clear sign” of the progress that the club had made in the past five years.
“In 2014 we had three adult teams and no juniors. We now have three junior teams (under-14s, under-16s and under-18s) and the three adult teams contain many players under the age of 23, so we’re very excited about the future,” he said.
With the teams having a flying start to the season, Bennett said the club aimed to focus on the development of female soccer in the area and build a strong community.
“To support this strategy, the club is focused on increasing our capacity to take on new players, improving our facilities, increasing the lighting at our home grounds and providing opportunities outside the normal Sunday games for our players,” he said.
“The upcoming tour to the Gothia Cup in Sweden for our under-16s girls and the increased numbers in state teams is an indication of this strategy coming together.”
Bennett said the volunteer-run club needed to attract sponsors and grants to help with equipment |upgrades and running costs.
“As a female-only club we find it harder than larger male clubs to attract funds,” he said.
“Hopefully having larger numbers of players at the club will make it a little easier to attract sponsors and funding to help us to continue to grow.”
He said the growth of the game was linked to the success of the Matildas and increased media coverage of the W-League.
“With the World Cup in France later this year we would expect to see more young girls wanting to take up the sport and we’re really excited to be a part of that growth,” he said.