As part of the club’s International Women’s Day celebrations, Melbourne City FC hosted its annual speed mentoring event at the City Football Academy on Friday.
More than 70 young girls from the Club’s network of affiliate schools, young community leaders, City members and representatives from SEDA attended the event, held at the Club’s Elite Women’s Training Facility at the City Football Academy.
The mentoring was delivered by influential women from a range of sporting backgrounds, who offered insights into their career pathways. Melbourne City FC midfielder Amy Jackson, who was a part of City’s recent ‘threepeat’ in the W-League, was a key mentor alongside Football Federation Australia’s General Manager, Women’s Football, Sarah Walsh, and Kate Gill, Player Relations Executive for Professional Footballers Australia. They were joined by representatives from Club partners McDonald's, La Trobe University and Big M and members of the Club’s administration. Each mentor provided expertise, insight and experience into their respective fields to the 70 mentees in attendance.
Jackson said that it was encouraging to see an increase in the number of mentees in the second year of the mentoring program, with the midfielder sharing her career experiences with a range of diverse attendees;
“This was our second year of the speed mentoring program and already we have had an increased number of eager girls who were really willing to listen and learn about the pathways that sport can provide. There was a wide array of mentors this morning so we have people in the medical field to the corporate world. I think for the girls to get a taste of where sport can actually take them is a really important step. As a female, sport used to be a very male dominated environment but nowadays those barriers have been broken and there’s a future for females in sport.
“First and foremost, I encouraged the mentees to practice and learn resilience. I was told “no” at a very young age that I couldn’t be involved in sport and that made me a more determined person both on the field and off the field. I apply that to my studies and my sporting life these days, and I think that the common theme and the common message was if there is something that you want to do, do fight for it and find a way to do it.”
The FFA’s Sarah Walsh said that the response from the mentees had been overwhelming;
“Melbourne City have put on a great mentoring session. I was amazed to see how many mentees there were this morning – there were 70 here today – a very good handful of mixed, diverse mentors, and to be able to talk to these young girls is encouraging and rewarding. I always walk away from these events learning something about myself, it’s always nice to revisit why we started playing and getting involved in the game. We have a bright future ahead of us with the next generation coming through.
“At Melbourne City it’s not by chance that they’ve been successful in their first three years in the W-League They’ve been able to set up a really good environment for the girls to be able to thrive here. I think that’s what the program was about today, letting the mentees know that there are opportunities and then giving them advice around how they can actually support each other and get there in the end – we want more females in our game.
“The future is bright for the Women’s game; we have a Women’s World Cup bid on the horizon, and I believe Women’s football holds the key to football’s future. It’s our growth opportunity and Women are just amazing; on International Women’s Day we get to celebrate that but there’s so much more work to do.”
The speed mentoring event was just one of several events being held by Melbourne City FC throughout Female Football Week and to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD):
- City commenced celebrations on Friday 2 March at the FFA’s launch of rebel Female Football Week, with the celebrations continuing that evening at AAMI Park as City faced Melbourne Victory in ‘The Decider’ Melbourne Derby. The Club’s record-breaking third Westfield W-League Championship trophy was on display at City Square pre-match, while pre-match and post-match celebrations of the team’s achievement took place.
- Game day activations at the Melbourne Derby included Soccer Mums on Gosch’s Paddock, as well as a female guard of honour made up of 20 female club administrators and coaches.
- City also attended the Knox City Festival on Saturday 3 March and the Brimbank Female Football Festival on Sunday 4 March
- On Wednesday, the 2017-18 Westfield W-League Championship trophy was on display at the Queen Victoria Night Market
- International Women’s Day was celebrated with Amy Jackson attending the International Women’s Day Breakfast at the Royal Children’s Hospital
- Melissa Hudson visited Tasmania to deliver a range of programs to young girls in conjunction with Football Federation Victoria (FFV)
- The club held an all-girls clinic on International Women’s Day, alongside the City of Yarra at Atherton Gardens in Fitzroy
- The Club featured profiles of female staff from across the business on melbournecityfc.com.au all week