Rising Melbourne City star Chelsea Blissett is in full favour of W-League clubs having academies.
As Australian women’s football moves forward in leaps and bounds as we head towards 2023, Young Matilda defender Blissett believes each club should have a formal academy program as women’s football embraces professionalism.
“I think it would be beneficial, it would expose players to high quality training and professionalism from a young age and create direct pathways into W-League than just the trial system,” said Blissett.
While many football experts believe academies can sometimes slow down player development, since academy competitions only feature younger players, Blissett sees the value for younger players in their initial stages of development.
She does however believe exposure to senior football is always the best way forward.
”Getting the opportunity to play at South Melbourne and play at that senior level gave me the exposure and opportunity to trial for Melbourne City,” admitted Blissett.
“But I do think a youth system would help develop younger girls, just like it does for the boys and it allows them to see the opportunity that is there for them.”
Blissett was also adamant the W-League will not become irrelevant despite the exodus of Matildas to European leagues. She insists it now provides more opportunities for players in the NPLW system.
“I think it does leave more of an opportunity for NPLW players to get exposure into the W-League, hopefully it is a positive for Australian football as the more players that get exposed to a higher level, the increase in talent to select from.“