Women in Sport have announced the formation of the first ever Women's Football Festival, to be held in Tuggerah from October 2 - 4.
The Women's Football Festival is aiming to celebrate and engage women in all walks of life to expand their love of the beautiful game beyond the Matildas and W-League.
The festival will host the first ever 'Women's Football Awards' aimed at recognising grassroots clubs, volunteers and players. The awards will be supported by the NSW government.
Central Coast Mariners, who have a base in Tuggerah, will also support the festival.
The festival will also feature a two-day round robin football tournament for all to partake in, with one of the premier aims of the festival encouraging women to play, rather than just watch the sport.
“It is a way of women making connections, building new bridges, making new friends, exchanging experiences and, ultimately, helping to have a positive impact on the role of women in football.
“We hope through doing this we can help inspire women to take on leadership roles in the game also,” a spokesperson said.
“We all enjoy the Matildas and the W-League, and seeing our own kids play, but this is a weekend for us.
“It’s for the many women behind-the-scenes in clubs, and in teams, to get together and just enjoy the game for what it is - not because of something we have to do.
“We also want to encourage those who have not played the game, but enjoy watching it, to have a go in a non-judgemental, friendly environment.
“That’s why we say we’re ‘Here to Play’.”
The Women in Football Awards, which are supported by the NSW Government, will be given in three categories of Volunteer, Media and Emerging Leader.
“We’ve selected these categories because volunteers are the backbone of grassroots clubs, as well as professional clubs. Without them, the game wouldn’t survive, and we’d like to help recognise the efforts of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who make sure clubs, teams and matches tick-over week-in, week-out.
“We want to encourage more and improved media on women’s football, whether that be in the mainstream or non-traditional media and regardless of whether it’s print or broadcast. By this, we don’t mean fluffy, feel-good PR stories, but good solid journalism and reporting.
“Finally, through the Emerging Leader award we want to encourage younger people to step-up and help show the way for others in achieving a better gender balance in the committees and boardrooms of football in Australia, as well as in coaching, refereeing, administration and management.”
Nominations for all three categories close on 31 July.
Further information, including entry forms for the tournament and nomination forms for the Awards can be found at www.womensfootballfestival.