The Matildas have their eyes set on home-country World Cup glory in 2023 – and a vision will soon start to form for a new permanent home for the national women’s soccer team in Melbourne’s north.
The facility would be the Victorian base for Football Federation Australia’s national women’s programs, and the training, high-performance and administration centre for Football Victoria.
The planning work will be conducted in partnership with Rugby Victoria, with designs to include training and administration space for programs including the Melbourne Rebels’ Super W team.
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be played across Australia and New Zealand with Melbourne’s AAMI Park to host five games including a quarter final.
And emerging Matildas young gun Nia Stamatopoulos has her sights firmly set on the tournament.
The 17-year-old has already represented her country as a Junior Matilda at the 2019 AFC U-16 Women’s Championships in Thailand.
And as a 15-year-old she became the fourth youngest player in W-League history and the youngest in Melbourne City Football Club history to make her debut when she was selected to make her first appearance in Round 1 of the 2018/19 Westfield W-League season.
Nia started playing football with her brother and sister in the backyard when she was 12, and it wasn’t long before her brother realised her talent and convinced her to join a club.
She was quickly hooked and has developed into a talented midfielder.
“I love everything about football,” she says.
“The feeling it gives me once I walk onto that pitch to play or train. I feel free and I just know that when I am training or playing games that this is where I want to be right now and what I want to do for the rest of my life. “
“My dream is to pursue a career in professional football and play overseas in Europe. As an aspiring young footballer one of my goals is to represent my country at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia.”
The Commonwealth Government has committed $15 million towards the construction of the Home of the Matildas in Victoria.
La Trobe University has invested more than $80 million to develop the first two stages of its Sports Park Master Plan which includes a six-court indoor stadium, research laboratories and facilities for soccer, football, cricket and baseball. The Banyule City Council has contributed $5 million towards the cost of the works.