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Matildas triumph inspires future stars

Aug 15, 2023

In the aftermath of the Matilda’s remarkable victory over France, Marlee Edmunds dream of one day being a part of the Matldas was kindled, “I’d love to be in the team I’ve always wanted to be in the Matildas.” 

Hailing from the Pitt Town Football Club, where she excels in Division 1, the spirited youngster has traversed the nation, criss-crossing from Brisbane to Sydney, to watch her sports idols grace the world stage in seven live matches.

Marlee’s devotion to the game is nothing short of extraordinary. “Mum’s always loved soccer, so I thought that since it’s in Australia, we should have the experience of watching the game,” she shared with unwavering determination.

Tamar, Chris, Marlee & Zara Edmunds have watched every game live.

The Matildas astonishing quarterfinal victory against France has not only captured hearts but has dominated headlines and discourse, earning its place as the most monumental sporting event since Cathy Freeman’s iconic 400m win at the Sydney Olympics. This historic showdown has also secured its status as the highest-rated TV sports program in the last ten years.

Channel 7 Plus witnessed an unprecedented surge of viewers, with over 472,000 people streaming the game, culminating in a staggering 6.2 million viewers. This response underscores its unparalleled significance in Australia’s sporting history. The aftermath of the game has cast a spotlight on women’s sports, hopeful for the future and questioning why it’s taken so long to get here. Merely a decade ago Matildas players were compelled to compete within boys’ teams due to the absence of female competition in the country.

The progress achieved is even more remarkable when considering the scarcity of opportunities for girls just a year ago in the Hawkesbury region. “That happened to my mum too, and she used to get so mad. It kind of happened to us in year 6,” Marlee said. “ We fought hard and eventually got to have a girls team.” 

Fellow team mate Piper Garrow shared similar experiences of overcoming gender-based challenges. 

“When we where in year five, there was a mixed comp. There were only about three girls in our team when I was in year five and I was one of them. There were two other teams, which had girls in them and they said they would only have a boys competition. We started to talk to all the teachers and we got to have a full girls competition,” Piper said. 

Still, once the girls reach under 13’s it becomes more difficult to find a team and continue playing as they must only play in girls competition which remains limited.

Pitt Town Football Club, a pioneer in promoting women’s soccer at the grassroots level, has been recognised with the prestigious “Game Changer” accolade within the Football Australian Development Program. This recognition underscores their dedication to fostering women’s football, a commitment that will see eight girls proudly carrying the flags for the Matildas during the pre-match entertainment tomorrow night. 

“It’s amazing to see all the people at our school who have been watching games, and even people in our grade who have started playing soccer a bit more,” Piper said.

The anticipated World Cup final has ignited spirited debates among the young fans. While Marlee throws her support behind Australia and Sweden, Piper is backing Spain’s rise to the final.

 

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