I have decided that I will be attending all of the W-League Sydney FC home games this season – not because I feel obliged or because I’m a Sydney FC fan, but purely because the football is amazing.
While attending the games, I will be researching how the W-League’s style of play differs from the A-League’s, but also how Football Federation Australia can improve the hype around the W-League. Everywhere around Australia, we are privileged to watch not only the whole Matildas team but some of the best players in the world.
There was the marquee Sam Kerr last year, whom some think of as the best women’s player in the world. All of the starting eleven that faced Chile in a pre-match friendly on the 9th of November – excluding Aivi Luik and Kerr – have signed with W-League teams for the upcoming season.
Remember, this was the team whom earlier this year made the round of sixteen in the World Cup – a lot of Australians were disappointed that they didn’t get further in the tournament. Imagine if the main Socceroos were expected to go further than the round of sixteen in the World Cup and the starting eleven played in the A-League – how much would the attendances increase?
In Sydney FC alone, I will have the privilege to watch Socceroos regulars Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord and Chloe Logarzo. I will also get to see young stars such as Remy Siemsen, Mackenzie Hawkesby, Taylor Ray, Shadeene Evans, Amy Sayer and of cause wonder-kid Princess Ibini-Isei.
That may be one of the more quality teams in the league, but it still shows how high the footballing quality of the W-League is in world women football. If the A-League had just one of those young guns as a male version, the whole of the A-League would be thrilled. But why is it not the same?
Women’s football may be a relatively new game, but our excuse can’t be that it is unattended worldwide. In the last season the average attendance of the NSWL – the American women’s league – was 7337 while in the W-League the highest attendance was 7163, meaning our highest attendance didn’t even beat the American average.
The average attendance for the W-League last season was 1528, with the grand final attracting only 6127 people. I attended the crazy game – where Sydney prevailed 4-2 – and shook my head when I saw that a grand final where people were able to watch Sam Kerr live only managed to attract just over 6000 people.
I was even more appalled when the FFA described this as a good crowd and something that we should be proud of. We have the best Australian football players in our league – along with some of the best in the world – and only 6000 people turning up to a grand final was called good?
FFA, you have an unbelievable amount of potential with the W-League – please do your best to fulfil it. The A-League is independent, but don’t say you don’t have enough work – there are years of work and millions of dollars that have been put into the A-League that now can be transferred to the W-League.
They are an amazing group of players and deserve a lot more than an average of 1528 people attending their matches. While I am attending the games, I will be drafting a letter to the FFA about how they can improve the hype and attendances. If anyone has any ideas make sure to write them up, because the W-League deserves to be getting attendances like Europe and America – and if we don’t watch out we will lose all of them to bigger clubs.
FFA – for the sake of Australian football – you have to focus on the W-League.