Sydney FC captain Teresa Polias knows better than most how difficult it can be for women footballers to make a living while playing the game they love.
“The first thing I’d love to see is a home and away series. I think everyone would agree on that,” she said.
“When you haven’t had it, any little improvement is nice. Obviously a fully professional league here in Australia for us Australians would be massive, to have that base and professionalism. That would mean for some players that they wouldn’t have to go overseas anymore; they could call the W-League their home. That could bring more players into the league as well from overseas.
“[Increasing professionalism] helps a lot more on the field as well. When you get treated like a professional, you want to go out and play and work for the club and it drives you that little bit more.”
However, as one of the handful of players who rely on overseas contracts for their financial well-being, Foord recognises that the change won’t be easy.
“It’s tough at the moment because if it goes fully professional and goes longer than a home and away series, then that might conflict with other leagues overseas which is more of an income for some players,” she said.
“So where does the line get drawn before it overlaps and [the W-League] is not as good and we’re losing players? It’s hard finding that balance."
It’s an important question that should be considered when thinking about what the next ten seasons of Australian women’s football could or should look like.
The 2018-19 W-League season was one of the closest and most exciting contests in the competition’s history thanks in part to the smaller back-room changes brought about by things such as the CBA.
These structural changes are beginning to turn football into a more attractive, realistic, and supportive career for current and future generations. It follows that further improvements behind the scenes can only contribute to the increasing quality of the W-League, and should be at the forefront of discussions about what comes next for Australian women footballers.