Youth development

The topic of youth development has been thrusted into the spotlight once again, mostly because FFA pretty much forgot to include girls development in the Player Pathway Review announcement.

Speaking with Moriarty about youth development, it's an area of focus for the FFA Women's Football Council because they aren't just about elite football.

"We're not just about the elite pathway but we're also about opening participation to girls and women," she said.

"We need an optimal female talent pipeline from grassroots to elite for us to be competitive at the elite level on the world stage.

"To achieve that, we need to see the growth of participation by women across the game so I think those two are the critical ones that play into each other."

In the 2018 Participation Report released by FFA in February this year, there was an increase of 13 per cent on Australians participating in football. 

Women and girl participation grew by two per cent (141,487) on outdoor, registered futsal and social with 113,207 of those registered playing outdoor affiliated football.  Looking at three levels of football MiniRoos, Youth and Senior, women's sit around the 20 per cent mark with boys and men sitting around 80 per cent.


Is Australia losing ground in women's football?

As the rest of the world pushes ahead in women's football, Australia is starting to lag behind.

While there has been growth and that is important to see, the dream of having a 50/50 split between boys and girls is still far away. 

There could be a few factors involved in this, Moriarty notes the environment could be a factor in having more women and girls play.

"Football is the most played sport in Australia, so there isn't any reason that young girls will not play football given the right environment," she said.

"There's a lot to be done on creating the right environment for girls to play and grow in the game and women to have the opportunity to play or to coach or to be a referee or to manage or direct lead.

"It is a very powerful game, and it has power beyond the game. There is a brilliant opportunity right now in Australia to make the changes to attract and keep female talent in the game, at the same time using the sport to position girls and women for greater social equality more generally."