Football West has played a key role in securing the Westfield Matildas first-ever match in Perth and an eight-day training camp that will connect community football to international stars including WA’s Sam Kerr.
The Matildas will take on Thailand at nib Stadium on March 26 in a crucial part of a training camp before they head to Jordan for the 2018 Asian Cup.
Football West will assist in hosting a family fun day, which will allow fans to see the Matildas in training, and will also support community activations throughout the Matildas visit.
Football West has worked in conjunction with Football Federation Australia and the State Government to secure the Matildas’ presence in Perth.
Kerr, the Young Australian of the Year and recent winner of the RAC Sports Star Award, urged the WA public to support the Matildas, just as she had helped boost the crowd for a friendly against China at AAMI Park last year.
“I set the challenge to Melbourne to come out and support us and now the challenge is to my home State,” she said. “I’ll be sending messages to all my friends and be getting everyone I can to hopefully pack out nib and make it a great night.
“I’ve been nagging everyone at FFA for a while to bring a game to Perth. We’re a national team and it’s great that we’re finally playing all over the country.”
Football West Chairman Liam Twigger expected the Matildas’ presence in Perth to make a lasting impression on the local game.
“All over WA, girls and boys are registering to play football…. and dreaming of one day being like Sam Kerr and playing for their country,” Twigger said.
“On March 26, they will get a chance to see her play in the green and gold of the Westfield Matildas.”
Football West Chief Executive Officer James Curtis said the Matildas’ visit would coincide with the release of Football West’s Female Football Plan, which has been developed over the past three months.
“We have had incredible participation in our game over the years and there is no doubt that the achievements of the Matildas and, in particular Sam Kerr, are providing even more WA players with the inspiration to get involved in the game,” Curtis said.
“Our Female Football Plan recognises the opportunities on the horizon, including harnessing the great potential of young players who aim to follow in the footsteps of Sam and many other WA and Australian players.”
Matildas coach Alen Stajcic will use the camp and match against Thailand as critical preparation for the Asian Cup, which also serves as FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Stajcic also highlighted how strong public support for the game against Thailand would enhance Perth’s future international football opportunities. Last week, the Australian Government increased to $5 million its funding support of FFA’s bid to host the 2023 World Cup and Stajcic suggested a strong turnout would not go unnoticed.
“Hopefully we get a full stadium here – 20,000-plus,” Stajcic said of the Matildas clash with Thailand. “Perth and Western Australia can show that it wants to be a host city, come five years’ time.”