Former Matildas greats Alison Forman and Angela Iannotta were among the first Australian women to play in domestic league competitions in Europe.
Forman was the first Australian woman to win a top-flight domestic title in Europe, clinching the Elitedivisionen in Denmark with Fortuna Hjørring in 1994. She went on to win five league championships and five Cup medals with Fortuna in a glittering career with the Danish powerhouse.
“I moved to Denmark in 1992 in search of football 24/7, I wanted to live it, breathe it and play football non-stop at the most professional level possible,” explains Forman, who played 77 times for Australia and appeared at two World Cups.
“I found that with Fortuna Hjørring in Denmark, we trained more, played more and everything was at a higher level than back home in Australia at that time.
“I totally understand current players searching for that, it is only natural for a footballer to do so.”
Forman believes the current exodus to Europe will all go well for Australia’s chances at the 2023 World Cup. However, she cautioned that every player will have to work out what suits them.
“Naturally when you have a player exposed to top class training and tough games more often, you will get a better player and that is always a benefit to the national team.
“In saying that, I am not saying that everyone has to travel overseas to be a top-class player and or receive top class training and games.
“This is and should be available in Australia and each individual player is individual in their needs.”
Iannotta, who won the Italian Scudetto title with ACF Agliana in 1994/95, believes Europe is the future of women’s football but admits she would like Australia to keep investing in the W-League.
“I live in Italy and follow most of the European women's leagues,” begins Iannotta. “Most countries are investing big in women’s football and most leagues are turning professional.
“I'll keep repeating the same thing though, we need a full-time professional league in Austraĺia.
“It would be great to see our top athletes play in Austraĺia in front of our home crowds.”
Iannotta, who starred in the 1995 World Cup in Sweden, chose England as the country which will have the premier women’s competition.
“The English league will eventually be one of the strongest leagues in the world. The English FA are investing significantly in women’s football, it's quite exciting having our Matildas playing there.
“They certainly have the opportunity to play eight months of football and keep their fitness up and become stronger players.
“Who didn't want to play for Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal while growing up? Today they have that possibility...and it is just awesome.“