As we celebrate Female Football Week, Football Queensland has launched the Women’s Football Champions initiative to shine a light on the unsung community heroes who have gone above and beyond for women and girls in our game.
Regardless of age, gender or location, the Women’s Football Champions are all recognised as doing great things to support, develop and deliver opportunities for women and girls within our state’s footballing family.
- Women’s Football Champion #1 – Teresa Littlemore
- Women’s Football Champion #2 – Debbie Caldwell
- Women’s Football Champion #3 – Lynda Arkinstall
- Women’s Football Champion #4 – Trina Elkington
- Women’s Football Champion #5 – Milan Rebic
Each chosen individual is being profiled on Football Queensland’s website and social media channels, and will be invited to attend a special event in relation to the centenary season of women’s football in Queensland.
The sixth of our Women’s Football Champions is Marty Emerson from Central Football Club in Gladstone.
Emerson, who has been involved in football on and off for 35 years, has served on the club committee as Vice President, President and Grants Coordinator. For the past three seasons, he has also coached Central’s immensely successful First Division Women’s side.
In 2020 alone, the senior women’s team went through the season undefeated to win the First Division Premiership and Grand Final, as well as the CQ Women’s Knockout Cup.
“One of our teams also won the Women’s Second Division title to make it a Central clean sweep for the ladies competitions,” said Emerson.
Kerry Gray, the Operations Manager at the Football Queensland Central zone, nominated Emerson as a Women’s Football Champion for his tireless work in promoting women and girls at all levels of the game.
“Marty has helped female participation grow at the club to now have three women’s teams, a junior competitive girls and six MiniRoos girls teams,” said Gray. “He has also helped drive all girls MiniRoos competitions in Football CQ.”
Emerson’s wife, Beck, is a club stalwart at Central FC and both their daughters are currently involved in the MiniRoos program. Being part of the women’s game was “probably inevitable,” he said.
“I’m a big advocate for girls having their own pathway in the sport to give them the option to play in all-girls teams if they aren’t comfortable playing in with the boys.
“Girls participation has exploded in our club since we started doing all-girls MiniRoos teams, and it’s exciting for the future to see the junior girls having fun and enjoying their football together right through from the younger age groups.”
Emerson believes the rising standard of women’s football in the CQ zone has led to a new appreciation for female players in the region.
“Back when Beck and I first met, I would watch her play and there would only be a couple of the players’ partners or family there to support the women,” he said.
“It’s a big contrast to Grand Final day last year when they played in front of a big crowd in the grandstand. People commented that the Women’s First Division game was the best game of the day, and people that have never watched a women’s game before said how exciting it was to watch.
“We’ve got fantastic female role models in our ladies teams for the junior girls to look up to. Last year, we had the opportunity to include our Girls MiniRoos teams in the pre-game for the Women’s Grand Final. It was great to see the young girls watching the game and staying on at the end to celebrate the win with the ladies.”
This season, Central FC will take part in the inaugural CQ Women’s Premier League, which includes teams from Gladstone and Rockhampton. Emerson said the new competition will present a fresh challenge for his all-conquering side.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the quality of women’s football in the region rise to a new level,” said Emerson.