By LAWRENCE MACHADO
Women’s football is kicking big goals in the Hills with a pathway to the state and national leagues providing opportunities to represent Australia.
According to Hills Football general manager, Matt Rippon, the sky’s the limit for our talented female players after the association was allowed to compete in the Football NSW Women’s State League competition from next year.
“We are thrilled and honoured to be developing the next batch of future Matildas players,” a delighted Rippon said. “The announcement of a Hills United FC licence in Football NSW’s Women’s State League competition is a historic one for the Hills community and its football members.”
He admits there is a lot of hard work to be done but is confident Hills United and member clubs are on the right track and, “no doubt will be responsible for the development of many future Matildas in the years to come”.
Football is booming in the Hills, with female participation alone growing by 20 per cent this year, doubling the number of teams among the 21 member clubs.
“Hills women have been confirmed an entry into the 2022 Football NSW Women’s League One competition,” Rippon said. “Things are fast moving, with the appointment of head coaches and open trials already underway ahead of their pre-season schedule.
It’s an extremely exciting time for the association because for the first time in our history, the Hills LGA has its own Talented Player Pathway for female players – a clear opportunity for community players to progress all the way, from the under-10s Skill Acquisition Program to first grade without having to leave the area to participate.”
It is a remarkable achievement for this association, which is just five years old. Rippon pointed out the bright future for our female players is due to the tireless work of the committee, supporters, and football community to promote a women’s program.
“It’s hard to imagine a more exciting time for female football in our area, with female participation growing by 20 per cent in 2021, female teams doubling across all age grades,” Rippon said.
“This result, while tremendous for the club and Association, is symbolic of the growth, desire and actions undertaken by those within the Hills grassroots football landscape, specifically our member clubs in facilitating best practice female football opportunities.
“The association has had significant growth in non-traditional football activities such as summer and walking football, and in less than two years we will play host to the largest female sporting event on the planet – the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
Rippon acknowledged the positive, developmental club culture and the commitment to develop, encourage and support not just female players but coaches, referees, and administrators in the Hills.