Huge boost for Aussie women’s soccer

A $116m addition to Melbourne’s sporting landscape is set to be delivered in time for the 2023 FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Australia, and star striker Sam Kerr is ecstatic.

The Matildas soccer team have been given a $116m boost with the announcement of their own purpose-built centre of excellence in Melbourne’s north, set to be delivered in time for the Australia co-hosted 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

With $15m coming from the federal government and $101m from the Victorian government, construction of the “Home of the Matildas” will begin in December.

It will have five pitches, forming a multifaceted complex at La Trobe University’s Bundoora Sports Park.

The centrepiece of the complex will be a 1000-seat marquee pitch where the national soccer team will put the finishing touches on their preparation for the World Cup in front of fans.

The complex will also feature high-performance facilities such as a gym and wet recovery area, medical and rehabilitation centre, meeting areas and a player lounge.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be played across Australia and New Zealand in July and August 2023.

Five games in the tournament proper, including a quarterfinal, will be played at Melbourne’s AAMI Park.

Matildas captain Sam Kerr told the Herald Sun it was a boon for her team and women’s soccer.

“The prospect of having a state-of-the-art facility specifically designed for our use is very exciting,” the star striker, who helped Chelsea FC win the English Women’s Super League title recently with 21 goals that also secured her a Golden Boot, told the publication.

“The team loves playing in Melbourne and we really look forward to having a dedicated base where we can train and prepare for matches.”

Victorian acting Premier James Merlino said fans would be able to see their national team train in an intimate setting before a global spectacle.

“We can’t wait to cheer on the Matildas at the World Cup in Melbourne in 2023 and with this investment, we’ll give our female soccer stars a world class home in the heart of Melbourne,” he said.

“When we say we’re serious about improving the visibility of our female athletes, we mean it.

“Not only will this investment deliver new facilities, it will mean more young soccer fans get to see their heroes up close.”

The complex will also be offered to community clubs at a discounted rate and La Trobe students will have free access to the facilities for about 20 hours a week.

A new Victorian State Rugby Centre will be incorporated into the complex, including high performance facilities and a match day home for the Melbourne Rebels’ Super W team.

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