Women’s football on the rise at Football Canterbury


Female football continues to thrive in the western corridor, thanks in large part to the pioneering efforts of Football Canterbury and its clubs.

The Association has seen a marked rise in the number of females playing the game throughout its various age groups, necessitating the need for multiple divisions across its competitions as more and more women and girls take up the sport.

Punchbowl United FC have been one of the biggest advocates for the growth of female football and in 2022, its number of female players outstripped the number of male players.

Club president Natasha Hill said the incredible year-on-year growth, not just at her club but across the association was a sign of the sports growing popularity with girls but the attitude of clubs and the Association towards making football more accommodating to the female population.

“Our club was established in 2018 and between then and now we’ve seen incredible growth. In 2022 we had a 52/48 boy-girl split in favour of girls and more than 100 female players at our club,” she said.

“I think the growth is the product of a few factors. We’re very family and community orientated and I think we’ve done a good job of building trust within our community of people with shared values.

“We’ve had a lot of girls taking up the sport for the first time, both as juniors and in our open-age teams, and I think key to that has been the approach we’ve taken to accommodating their needs.

“Working with Football Canterbury so that players can play with pants on, as long as they have socks over the pants, was an important step because it made so many more players feel comfortable playing the sport.

“We work with our coaches to ensure we’re accommodating of the different needs of players, particularly if they’re full-time workers or they come from families with a lot of kids and can’t make every training session. We don’t encourage a no-train, no-play in those instances because for some of these players it’s not possible to train every week.”

Hill noted that whilst she was proud of the milestones her club had achieved in female football, the other clubs within the Association, such as LFC Sports Club, Roselands FC, Belmore Eagles and the Association itself had done a remarkable job growing the game.

“We’re at a point now where there are five or six divisions in some of our female competitions,” she said.

“That’s so important to player retention because if you have new players coming to your club, you want to be able to field them in teams and in competitions where the ability is similar, otherwise they’re not going to stay,” she said.

“So everyone’s doing their bit and it’s helping everyone continue to grow the female side of our sport.”

With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup fast approaching on home soil, the popularity of female football is set for a further boost and there will be no shortage of girls looking to take to the field of play.

Girls of all ages and abilities in the Western corridor can find their local club by heading to https://www.footballcanterbury.com.au/home/.