Matildas legend Joey Peters has called for Catherine Cannuli to be the next Western Sydney Wanderers W-League coach, after the resignation of Dean Heffernan last week.
Cannuli, who has been an assistant at Wanderland since 2017, is highly regarded by the playing group and has a wealth of coaching experience in the NSW NPLW system with Southern Districts Raiders.
She won back to back NPLW Championships as coach with the Raiders in 2016 and 2017.
“We know how difficult it is for female coaches since there’s no money in it. So legends of the game like Cath, why not give her full autonomy to learn the role fully?” questioned Peters.
“Let her be herself, make decisions, make mistakes.
“The W-League is a development league for players now, so now why not use it for female coaches as well? Male coaches have used it for their own development.
"It should be kept for females, no offence to males. I wish there were no gender issues but there are.
“We’re severely lacking in female coaches and usually just stick the women in assistant roles, it’s time to let the women leaders forge their own path and inspire others too.”
Peters believes Cannuli has earned the role through her coaching experience and her apprenticeship as an assistant but believes her best education will be doing the job itself.
“You learn most coaching when you’re the one making the decisions, finding out what works for you and not following someone else’s ways. Her resume would outclass most in Australia.
“She’s a legend in W-League, she knows the culture like the back of her hand, give her the job if she wants it and make it viable for her.”
Peters also believes the likes of Cannuli have earned the right to earn decent wages, a major sticking point for coaches in the W-League. A number have privately lamented the struggles they have in making ends meet coaching in women’s football.
“Pay her top dollar, she’s worth it," she says. "Will she win the W-League? That’s not the right question, it’s more about what she symbolises, supporting women in leadership.”
Cannuli also has a technical director role in the women’s program at Southern Districts Football Association, a role she has balanced successfully with her commitments at the Wanderers.
So far in 2021, the Raiders senior women’s First Grade team are fourth after seven rounds, while the junior girls teams from under 14s through to women’s reserves, except for under 17s, are all in the top four.
Cannuli coaches the under 14s who are coming second and the 15s who are first so far.
Cannuli played 55 W-League games from 2009 to 2014 with Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney, winning a title with the Sky Blues in 2009. She also played for NSW Sapphires in the old Women’s NSL winning a championship in 2003.
Her playing career included four Matildas caps.
The Wanderers have worked hard in building their women’s football culture over the past two seasons. A number of current and past players have praised the club for the way they have developed their female brand.
The Wanderers also recently introduced a girls academy program aimed at developing young talent from western Sydney into future W-League players.
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