They are becoming quite fired up and enthusiastic for the football game, despite the fact that they do not play football. They get such a kick out of seeing them.”
Burtoyne’s football team, the Gladesville Ravens under-11s, are on the training track on a brisk weekday on Sydney’s lower north shore. Not only does this weekend’s schedule have a game for the Ravens, but it also features a match for the Matildas against France.
Burgoyne, age 11, exclaims with gleeful eyes, “A lot of my friends are gymnasts and netballers, but because of this World Cup, my phone is constantly buzzing, and they’re all excited the Matildas are scoring goals and winning games.” “My friends are all excited that the Matildas are scoring goals and winning games,” she continues.
Mariella Zaiter and Helena Turner, two of Burtoyne’s teammates, both nod their heads in assent. They have all attended at least one of the Matildas’ matches in Sydney, and all of them say that their levels of excitement are “10 out of 10.”
Zaiter is confident that there will be a significant increase in the number of women playing football in the upcoming season. “By watching them, I have no doubt that they will want to become a Matilda, and they will definitely want to give it a try.”
The majority of grassroots divisions are nearing the end of their seasons, but talk of football is at an all-time high as the Matildas continue to advance in the Women’s World Cup, selling out matches and setting broadcast audience records along the way.
Gladesville Ravens, just like most other teams in and around Sydney, have a growing presence of women’s and girls players, and there is a widespread belief that the number of women playing football in Australia is about to skyrocket.
Female engagement has already climbed by 37% since 2013, according to Hayley Todd, who is the head of women’s and schools football at Football NSW. This development compares to a growth of 13% in male participation over the same time period.
She claims that the organization’s goal is to have equal participation from men and women, and that the interest in the World Cup is fueling progress toward achieving that goal.
“Our Matildas provide such great role models for young girls and young boys in our game,” adds Todd, “and being able to see them visibly, being able to watch their journey absolutely helps us grow the game.” “Our Matildas provide such great role models for young girls and young boys in our game.”
“In the end, you can’t be what you can’t see,” says the proverb.
Midfielder Alessia Rizzuto, who is 16 years old, recalls that when she was younger, football was never popular; nonetheless, she describes the growth in the sport as “incredible.”
She says this while juggling a ball in her hands. “And with the World Cup, I think there will be treble the amount of girls in grassroots programs next season,” she continues. ”
Together with her colleagues Sali Cokely, 16, and Angelina Zaiter, 15, Rizzuto competes for the Ravens’ under-16s and under-18s girls teams.
They claim that in tandem with the increase in the number of participants, the requirements have also become more stringent. According to Cokely, the leagues will soon require expansion in order to accommodate everyone who is interested in participating.
They had to bulk up since there are just so many chicks arriving. This is just what we had hoped for.
“And it comes down to having the World Cup on home soil – it is so inspiring to those little girls,” said the spokesperson. You can spot each and every one of them in the crowd wearing their miniature Matildas shirts.
Tony Raciti, the president of APIA Leichhardt FC, which is one of the oldest grassroots teams in Sydney, is amazed at how far the women’s game has progressed. The club is located on the other side of the city.
“In the past three to four years we’ve seen a massive, mind-boggling increase in the number of girls and women’s players,” he added. “This is a game changer for the sport.”
Raciti anticipates that the World Cup would “turbocharge” the involvement of girls, anticipating up to 3,000 new registrations for the next season, particularly among younger girls ranging in age from four to six.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the World Cup has catapulted people’s curiosity into the stratosphere.