Valentine Sports Park was gripped with Matildas fever as Alen Stajic’s World Cup chargers spent the week training, playing matches as well as interacting with fans at Football NSW’s cracking new facilities at Glenwood.
Ranked tenth in the world, the Matildas were busily preparing for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup set to be played in Canada with the tournament commencing on the 6th of June and the Final set for the 5th of July – the team’s first match will be on the 8th of June against the USA with all of their matches beamed live on SBS One.
The Matildas have been pooled in Group D, the so called “Group of Death” and will face the USA ranked 2, Sweden ranked 5 and Nigeria ranked 33.
Valentine Sports Park was an ideal setting for the side as the entire FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament will be played on artificial surface, something the new precinct recently upgraded to with two full size surfaces freshly laid.
During the week-long stay, the Matildas utilised various facilities in the new venue which included the dining and accommodation much to the satisfaction of the entire squad.
Fans and current female players across NSW also had the ideal opportunity to watch their stars such as Kyah Simon, Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Emily van-Egmond to name a few on show, as an open training session was staged at the venue on Thursday.
Much to the delight of the hundreds that attended, the Matildas then signed autographs as well as posed for happy snaps as the vocal crowd watched their star female footballers in action.
A special Gala Day event was also organised on the final day that featured small sided games for a number of keen female football stars who took in expert tips from their heroes, the Matildas.
The final evening featured a special Matildas Dinner as Football NSW acknowledged the achievements the National team has endured thus far as over 100 guests enjoyed a special night wishing the team well.
It was a fitting end to what was a special week for both the Matildas as well as Football NSW as the Member Federation were privileged to have had the team prepare for the biggest female football spectacle this year.
“We were honoured to have had such a talented group of female football players utilising our facility as part of their World Cup preparations,” said Football NSW CEO Eddie Moore.
“It was a fitting touch to what has been a great week for female football as part of Football NSW’s initiative ‘Female football week’.
“It was fantastic to have seen so many aspiring female football players across all ages gather in watching their stars on show.
“We wish the Matildas well on their successes in Canada.”
Out of the 25 squad members, it was pleasing to see a number of familiar faces hailing from NSW.
Seven in total that included Alanna Kennedy, Leena Khamis, Nicola Bolger, Servet Uzunlar, Teresa Polias, Foord and Simon as well as Head coach Alen Stajic all who were also part of the NSW Institute of Sport.
The Matildas will be playing a farewell match on Thursday 21st of May against Vietnam at 6:30pm at Jubilee Oval in Kogarah before flying out to Canada.
Photo credit: Geoff Jones/Fairfax Media