Former stars help shape future direction

This past week saw the Westfield Matildas’ stay in Sydney enlivened by the visit of a host of former champions.

Daily events in the national team camp can sometimes become routine and repetitious, but this past week saw the Westfield Matildas- stay in Sydney enlivened by the visit of a host of former champions.

Around a dozen ex-national team stars were invited into camp for a day to share their knowledge, experience and know-how. Just some of the former players to drop in were prolific striker and FIFA Ambassador Julie Murray, one of the heroines of the breakthrough 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup campaign Thea Slatyer, long-serving midfielder Jo Peters and pioneering national team captain Julie Dolan.

The purpose of the mentoring sessions were multi-faceted and saw the two groups intermingle and share experiences. It was also notably a chance for the newer players to comprehend more about the rich culture and history of the Matildas, the challenges that previous generations have faced, and the team spirit which subsequently has been forged.

Co-ordinating the program were Glenn Warry, National Consultant MyFootball Career, and Sarah Walsh, another former champion of the women-s game now employed by Football Federation Australia in the role of Women-s Football Coordinator.

“It was a great day which proved beneficial in so many ways,” said Walsh. “We hope that current players will now have a wider support network through meeting the former players.

“We have a new coach with a European philosophy, and this is a great opportunity to maintain our traditions and mentality within that structure.

“This was a chance to work on Matildas values from a holistic point of view. We asked ourselves what it means to be in the Matildas, and what we found was the cultural values within the team have basically not changed in 30 years. It might sound a little corny, but really it was great to see.”

The mentorship programme had numerous other components and included presentations from FFA Chief Executive David Gallop on the direction of women-s football; FFA Head of Community Football Emma Highwood on the soon to be released Women-s Football Strategy; former Socceroo captain Craig Moore on the challenges of playing overseas and FFA Technical Director Han Berger who spoke about the National Curriculum and Women-s National Football pathway.

Though the Westfield Matildas are largely a youthful squad, the past week has seen them become better equipped to deal with future challenges, be it on or off the field.

Westfield Matildas v China PR

Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta Wednesday 27 November 2013 Kick-off: 7.00pm AEDT

Ticket Prices Adult - $20 Concession - $12 Junior - $12 Family - $56

Family: 2 Adults + 2 Juniors or 1 Adult + 3 Juniors Concession: Person holding a current Aged, Seniors, War, TPI or Invalid Card. NO STUDENTS. Patrons must show ID upon request. Junior: 3-16 years (inclusive). 2 years & under free on knee.