The excitement of Australia and New Zealand having won the hosting rights for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 was on display at St George FC on Saturday morning when Matildas star Amy Harrison and New Zealand Ferns coach, and Bayside Council resident, Tom Sermanni appeared at St George Stadium following the Saints’ girls SAP training.
Amy, due to fly out next week to commence pre-season training with Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, was a popular figure at the Stadium, busy signing autographs and having photographs taken with the young Saints’ players.
This came after the announcement of Amy as one of the St George FC (SGFC) Women’s Football Ambassadors, along with fellow Matilda Chloe Logarzo.
Amy was presented with her very own SGFC jersey, which the Saints players were very excited about.
There is a lot of pride in the club and the jersey, and so to have Amy wear their strip was a sign that the Matilda is one of their own.
A member of the Matildas’ last World Cup squad in France 2019, Amy was overjoyed with the joint bid getting up.
“It was hard to know which way the decision would go. When Japan pulled out, our chances obviously improved but you can just never tell what will happen”.
When asked what the experience was like in France, Amy explained:
“We were treated like royalty. It is just so hard to describe…the atmosphere at the games and in the towns were just amazing.
“And the hosting will bring such a boost to the game here”.
Tom Sermanni, who, apart from being the Ferns coach and a former Matildas coach of 11 years standing, also provides technical support to the St George FC women’s programme, was also aware of the massive boost the hosting rights will bring.
“When I first took over in 1994, that was the first time that players didn’t have to actually pay to play for the Matildas. That was in large part due to Sydney having won the hosting rights to the 2000 Olympics and women’s football being added to the Olympic schedule from 1996.
“The boost to the game once you have won hosting rights is just phenomenal.”
For St George FC, who are the only club in the St George district to run a full representative level programme of girls, youth and senior women’s football, this boost will surely flow over into the club.
St George FC Director Carlo Tini believes the club’s success is a result of the appointment of quality coaching staff supported by a dedicated team of volunteers.
“It’s all about the girls. The coaches, the managers, the volunteers; they all do it because they believe in the potential of the girls. We all work together to reach the same goal.”
Coming on the back of a planned redevelopment of the iconic St George Stadium, recently considered by Bayside Council, and which has been the home ground of the Saints since 1978, this grand old club, which dates back to 1957, certainly sees a bright future ahead.
– St George FC Media Release