Up and coming Matildas across Australia will benefit from a new program launched this morning.
The program seeks to bridge the gap between current and future generations of Matildas, especially those players aged between 15 and 20 years.
Currently, players identified come through the National Training Centre (NTC), which is a program for players aged under 17 to develop and prepare for future selection in Australian junior national teams.
However, once they finish their time with the squad they do not have another elite pathway to go to and end up in the National Premier League Women's (NPLW) competitions.
Currently, players pushing for national selection play their off-season in the NPLW in their respective state before joining their W-League clubs in October for pre-season. The NPLW is only played in five states; Queensland, NSW, Victoria, ACT and South Australia.
Usually, in this environment, they will train two to three times a week compared to NTC where they were training around five times a week.
“There is a significant daily training environment gap for young Australian female players, particularly during autumn and winter,” said Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.
“The Future Matildas program will help to fill this void, boosting talented players’ exposure to elite training and matches," he said.
Players will also have access to senior coaches, support staff and the ability to train in a high-performance environment outside the W-League season.
Young Matilda and Newcastle Jets player Cortnee Vine said the program will provide her with the opportunity to push for a Matildas spot.
"The Future Matildas program provides me with coaching from some of the best coaches in the world," she said.
"The holistic and highly individualised program target my key areas of development to take my game to the next level and continually challenge selection in the Matildas squad," Vine added.
The NSW Government through the New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) has provided $70,000 to FFA and Football NSW towards the half a million dollar pilot program.
The program is set to assist in developing players ahead of the 2019 and 2023 Women's World Cup, 2020 Olympics and 2022 Women's Asian Cup.
The Future Matildas is a nation-wide program but will be based in NSW so those identified outside of the state will come to Sydney and be part of the homestay program.