Melbourne City’s record-breaking W-League team took time out of their pre-season preparations to visit the next generation of Matildas at the Brighton Girls Gala Day on Sunday.
Captain Steph Catley, Lydia Williams, Teigen Allen, Melina Ayres, and Larissa Crummer joined returning Matilda Laura Alleway and new US signing Erika Tymrak to help run free football clinics for young girls aged 5-16 from Brighton Soccer club.
Players were split up into groups and rotated through four different skill stations, as players offered advice to the aspiring young footballers during a range of fun drills and small sided matches.
Every participant received full junior membership, a Melbourne City cap or scarf, and an exclusive W-League 2015/16 Champions t-shirt.
Participants gained an insight into what it takes to become a professional footballer during a Q&A session with the players at the end of the day, before lining up to get photos and autographs from their City heroes.
Matildas goalkeeper Williams, who was unveiled as a City player prior to the A-League Melbourne Derby, said the event’s popularity demonstrated how much football was growing in Australia.
“It’s fantastic, events like today are important not only to grow the Club but to develop the women’s game as well, she said.” We have a lot more young players playing the game now and they want to be a Steph Catley or a Lydia Williams when they grow up.”
“It’s really exciting to see ourselves are getting our names out there and being an inspiration to young girls. It’s pretty exciting and they get very excited, these girls know about the Matildas and they know about City.
“We didn’t have that a few years ago, it’s definitely a rapid growth that will hopefully continue.”
Defender Allen, who joined the Club from Sydney FC in pre-season, highlighted the importance of investing time into the grassroots level of the game.
“It’s definitely important to develop girls from a young age and at grassroots level. They learn a lot quicker from a young age,” she said.
“Having the chance to meet us and learn from us today is definitely an experience that all the children will remember and it was great to see these girls out on the pitch and learning new skills.”
The Westfield W-League season will begin on Sunday 6 November as Melbourne City FC commences its title defence at home against the Newcastle Jets at CB Smith Reserve.