Matildas waltz in

Matildas waltz in

Some of the state’s best young female soccer players visited Mount Gambier at the weekend to showcase their skills. 
The Football South Australia State Under 16 girls team was on hand to promote the female game as part of the Women’s World Cup Legacy Plan and show talented Limestone Coast players what paths the sport can lead them down.

The team, brought to the region by former Brazilian and Adelaide United player Cristiano Dos Santos, comprised 27 of the best young soccer players in the nation, including three who have represented Australia in the Under 17s Matildas squad.

Dos Santos believes this was a great opportunity for the locals as FSA builds towards it’s legacy plan along with the upcoming World Cup this year in Australia and New Zealand.

“The local players got to experience a higher level of soccer and show off their talents to state coaches,” Dos Santos said.

It was a jam-packed weekend for the state side as it held an open training session with some local players on Saturday, before playing two games against the Limestone Coast Football Association Under 16 girls and boys squad on Sunday along with an afternoon of good-spirited games of futsal.

The state Under 16 girls side was split into two teams, with one side taking on the LCFA Under 16 girls and the other side battling it out against the LCFA Under 16 boys.

The excitement around the women’s game has been increasing every year, and now with the women’s FIFA World Cup being hosted by Australia and New Zealand this year, the game is gaining massive traction in Australia.

“There is definitely more excitement around the game and the number of players involved in football from this year compared to last year has (increased),” Dos Santos said.

“To come here with the girls, it will give the local players a great opportunity.”

The pathway program provides great opportunities for the women involved, including a pathway to the Adelaide United women’s side as well as the opportunity to play for the junior Matildas in the Under 17 age group and the Under 20s national team pathway.

“I think bringing a state Under 16 team here and playing two games against the association teams is a great experience and a great opportunity for us to have a look at some local talent,” Dos Santos said.

The three Matilda players that travelled to the region were Annalise Simpson, Miley Grigg, and Anastatsia Marzilli, who have competed over the world for the international side including South Korea last year to play three of the country’s sides.

The two games that were played on Sunday were hard-fought battles with some incredible contests, ultimately resulting in the state girls getting the better of the LCFA girls side, while the LCFA boys secured a victory over their opposition.

The teams also competed in futsal at the new Wundula recreation and convention centre, an important part of Football SA development pathway plan, which will increase futsal in the region and play a large role in helping to develop players.

Overall it was a great weekend for the local girls, who competed against an opposition of a higher level and showed what this region’s players have to offer.

As more great opportunities like the legacy plan are provided to girls across the state, the female world game will continue to grow from strength to strength.

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