Adding to the problem, she says, is the lack of access to professional football environments for women in Australia prior to the most recent generations of the Matildas.

"That's just been the evolution of women's football in this country," said Highwood. "They haven't been exposed to what good looks like in that space.

"If you're coaching a team now, you're a manager, you're a leader. You're not just coaching the players. You've also got a team of support staff around you.

"So the role of the coaches has changed and females that haven't been in professional clubs have not necessarily been exposed to that.

"That lack of opportunity is a major thing."



The FFA has now launched a program to address the issue and plans to target females with coaching potential through mentoring projects. which has so far included Heather Garriock, Rae Dower and Mel Andreatta.

"We're trying to create a network of potential female coaches," said Highwood. "We want to try to identify them, to support those individuals to get to the top.

"But visibility's a massive, massive thing. And we don't really have that right now.

"That's a major challenge for us."

She added: "In the women's game generally, we've made massive progress in lots of areas, but coaching has not really progressed at the same rate.

"We've got a couple of people with pro licences, percentages are under 20, probably, in terms of the other advanced courses.

"If I look at the W League, for 11 seasons in, I would expect more female coaches. So as a game, we've got some work to do... and we've got to understand why."