Queensland’s female development pathways look set to reward the Westfield Matildas at the next FIFA Women’s World Cup with new figures illustrating the state’s success in developing elite talent.
Football Queensland (FQ) figures show 40 homegrown talents have represented Australia at major senior and youth international tournaments since July 2012.
Katrina Gorry, Mackenzie Arnold and Hayley Raso are among the locals who have grown into household names over the past eight years and are on track to be part of a strong Queensland core for the Westfield Matildas when Australia and New Zealand co-host the World Cup in 2023.
Like the other players captured in the data, Gorry, Arnold and Raso spent time at the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) before launching their Westfield W-League and international careers.
The next generation could soon follow in their footsteps after FQ and the QAS together launched a full-time training and playing program for the state’s most promising young players in 2018.
Rae Dower, FQ’s QAS Coach Mentor, said Queensland Government funding through the QAS meant the state’s “proud history of producing high quality female players” would continue.
“Our pathway is now the envy of every female footballer in the country,” said Dower, a former Matilda and the current Junior Matildas Head Coach.
“We’re fully committed to evolving the program and to helping as many female players in Queensland reach their full potential on and off the field through the creation of our high-performance environment.
“We’d love to help make dreams come true for Queensland players wanting to play for the Matildas in a home FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 and beyond.”
Football Federation Australia’s latest national census data showed there were more than 18,000 women and girls playing football in Queensland in 2019, a three per cent increase on 2018.
“The numbers we have are very encouraging and we look forward to seeing Queensland produce many more Westfield Matildas,” FQ Technical Director Gabor Ganczer said.
“Having the FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil will be a big moment and objective for aspirational players and we are putting a lot of resources into helping them achieve their goals, not just now but permanently.”
Ganczer also thanked Jeff Hopkins, Belinda Wilson, Mel Andreatta, David Da Silva and Garrath McPherson for their contributions in the program’s Head Coach role over the past eight years.
Tom McDonald, FQ’s Women’s and Girls High Performance Officer, added: “Our current QAS squads are working hard to live up to the legacy previous players have left for them.
“We believe now that we have established a full-time, high-performance girls’ academy that our representative numbers will continue to grow.”
QUEENSLAND PLAYERS WHO HAVE REPRESENTED AUSTRALIA AT OLYMPIC GAMES, WORLD CUPS OR CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 01/07/2012
Laura Alleway, Mackenzie Arnold, Mia Bailey, Angela Beard, Georgia Beaumont, Savannah Boller, Eliza Campbell, Kim Carroll, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Larissa Crummer, Isobel Dalton, Casey Dumont, Charlotte Farmer, Ciara Fowler, Mary Fowler, Sunny Franco, Shekinah Friske, Emily Gielnik, Brooke Goodrich, Katrina Gorry, Winonah Heatley, Elise Kellond-Knight, India Kubin, Aivi Luik, Afrikah McGladrigan, Teagan Micah, Ayesha Norrie (Kirby), Hollie Palmer, Clare Polkinghorne, Kezia Pritchard, Hayley Raso, Jamilla Rankin, Taylor Ray, Indiah-Paige Riley, Arina Tokunaga, Kaitlyn Torpey, Cortnee Vine, Natasha Wheeler, Brittany Whitfield, Tameka Yallop (Butt).