While the Matildas dominate our attention, community football clubs are struggling to keep up.
Corio SC have a special history in the Geelong region.
Since 1955, the club have been a true battler and despite being in a poor area of the bayside town, have always punched above their weight.
The club is embarking on a new era which involves building a female program from the ground up. But the club needs help, with their antiquated facilities exactly the same as they were in 1979 when they were renovated for the only time since 1955.
It was a special night at Hume Reserve tonight when the Eagles hosted their first Mini Roos training session in three years. There were 60 kids who turned up, building on the 20 who showed up last night for the U15s. What was most pleasing was that 25% of tonight’s turnout was young girls, underlining how serious the club is about female football.
A number of girls were from the local refugee community, something that warmed the heart of club president Mario Gregorio.
“We had a few girls from the local Afghani community,” beamed Gregorio. “To me that is a massive win.”
It also highlighted an issue with the lack of proper female friendly facilities at Hume Reserve.
Corio’s Junior Coordinator Slavko Pantelic was pleased to see so many females show up but lamented the lack of proper female facilities.
“The lack of adequate facilities like changerooms for females at Corio SC is a major barrier,” said Pantelic. "It's very easy to look at the facilities and think, 'Well, I'll play for another club'.
"To see young girls out there striving to be the next Sam Kerr, it's awesome," he added.
Corio SC hopes it’s promotion to State League One for 2020 for its senior men’s team as well as the growing numbers of juniors, will be a catalyst for its current submission to local council and State Government for new female compliant changerooms and club room.
This will also allow the club to build a women’s team, something they have come close to achieving over the past few years, but ultimately falling short mainly due to lack of proper facilities.
The club has one of the cheapest registration fees in the region, something that is important to Gregorio.
The much loved president urged the powers to be to consider his club for funding, especially when they are in a lower socioeconomic area of Geelong where a sport like football is vital for the community.
"With our fees being the cheapest fees in the region, the development of new facilities is really critical to increasing the activity levels of young women and men in the northern suburbs of Geelong. It would breathe new life into our club and area.”
The Eagles are welcoming all footballers, male or female, of any age to come and join their special club as they embark on a new era.