Football West celebrated the contribution of local volunteers on International Volunteer Day this week as part of the Women & Girls Forum.
The forum, supported by Hyundai, was held at the Sam Kerr Football Centre and marked a landmark year for women’s football.
It also looked ahead to maximising growth opportunities for the female game in WA.
With the passion and dedication of volunteers such an integral part of the sport, Football West was excited to announce the winners of the 2023 Community Football Awards.
The recipients were fittingly acknowledged in front of their peers and recognised for their outstanding contributions across the game.
The winners were:
Volunteer of the Year: Renae Fussell (Baldivis Districts)
Championing Women’s Football Award: Bel Milne (Sorrento FC)
Community Club of the Year: UWA Nedlands
Junior Community Football Coach of the Year: Salvatore ‘Sam’ Berlingeri (Wanneroo City)
MiniRoos Kick-Off Coordinator of the Year: Vanessa O'Brien (Kingsley Westside)
Football West would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the winners of the 2023 Community Football Awards, all Club Changer clubs and indeed thank all volunteers for their efforts in growing the game in what will go down as a watershed year for football.
Meanwhile, the forum addressed the women’s football pathway, from MiniRoos to Masters.
Football Australia Women’s Technical Director and Junior Matildas Head Coach Rae Dower and Junior Matildas Sports Scientist Mikayla Lyons were the key speakers.
They set the tone for the evening with an insightful panel discussion on creating an environment for female players to realise their potential. This included long-term athlete development, stretching and supporting individual players across stages of maturing and appropriate formats for junior girls.
Football West Club Development Officer Bianca Glanville gave a presentation about the Football Australia Club Changer program, which is making a positive impact across clubs and associations to create inclusive environments and build participation. There are more than 30 WA clubs who are 1-star Club Changers and they are starting to experience the benefits that come with embracing the program.
With the CommBank Matildas’ recent AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers held in Perth, clubs involved in Club Changer had exclusive privileges such as their junior players being involved as ballboys and ballgirls, flag bearers, mascots, half-time heroes and being part of the little legends lap.
The chance for young footballers to be part of the tournament behind the scenes and get close to their heroes are invaluable experiences to motivate them on their football journey.
Becoming a Club Changer is an easy three-step process open to clubs of all sizes. All that is required is to:
- Create an account on the Sport Australia Game Plan portal
- Complete the Women’s & Girls in Football module
- Submit a 12-month action plan to Football West
Creating an action plan allows the club to focus on what is to be improved over the next 12 months.
Becoming a 1-star club before December 15 makes clubs eligible for the CommBank Growing Football Fund of up to $5,000 for an initiative addressing the need for participation initiatives or coaching opportunities for women and girls.
Football West Clubs & Competitions Manager Dan Israel also presented, speaking about the introduction of an Under 15s division in 2025, the expansion of the U17s, and the setting up of a Women’s Masters competition.