A proposal to bring Australia’s top women’s soccer competition to regional South Australia is in the works, in an effort to grow interest in the sport following the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

It would see Adelaide United face Western United in the south-east city of Mount Gambier in mid-December as part of the upcoming A-League Women’s regular season.

Mount Gambier Centrals Soccer Club would host the game at its Bishop Road ground, with an expected crowd of 3,000 to 4,000.

Centrals president Shane Dycer spoke at Monday night’s District Council of Grant meeting, where the council committed $10,000 cash or in-kind funding towards the event.

The City of Mount Gambier, state government and Limestone Coast Football Association would also provide funding, with the match and associated events expected to cost between $100,000 and $150,000.

As well as the match on Saturday, a free clinic for children, school visits, open training sessions on Friday plus a second clinic for local league players on Sunday, have also been proposed.

The match would be the second A-League Women fixture announced for regional Australia, with the Western Sydney Wanderers scheduled to play a match at Bathurst’s Carrington Park.

Two girls wearing red tops smiling and holding a soccer ball.

Limestone Coast footballers and sisters Saskia and Tatiana Brogan are Adelaide United fans.(ABC South East SA: Sam Bradbrook)

A chance to grow the game

Former Matilda and Adelaide United player Jenna McCormick was born and raised in Mount Gambier and played in the local competition as a junior.

She said she supported bringing A-League fixtures to country areas, and suggested creating a round where all fixtures were played regionally to inspire future generations.

“I think it’s a great idea to involve regional communities,” McCormick said.

Jenna McCormick kicks a ball towards the camera, standing on one leg

Former Matilda and A-League star Jenna McCormick was born in Mount Gambier.(Supplied: Ian Judd)

“Those communities don’t ever really get the opportunity to come out and see A-League men or women play.

“I know that when I came up to the city to watch games [as a child] I was so excited.

“I loved watching them, loved learning about the players, so if more people have the opportunity to do that, then the better and the larger the impact.”

Adelaide United was contacted for comment.

A ‘great opportunity’

Mr Dycer told the ABC the proposed game would be one of the first A-League Women’s games to be held regionally.

“On the back of the Women’s World Cup it would be huge,” he said.

“It’s been a massive year … if we manage to ride that wave and have a local game, it would be fantastic for the game here, not just for the girls but the game in general and the showcasing of the area.

“A live-televised game for points, no matter what sport it is, would just be big for the region.”

Mr Dycer said women’s soccer had been growing in the Limestone Coast region, and hoped a proposed game would continue the positive momentum for the sport.

“We’ve got a lot of grassroots kids at the under 6, 8 and 10 levels that have been doing MiniRoos, so the game’s going quite well,” he said.

“The girls’ game has grown so much, [so] it would be a great opportunity.”

Capitalising on curiosity

The Women’s World Cup, and Australia’s run to fourth place, attracted a large following, with a total live attendance of nearly 2 million people.

Two girls wearing Australian soccer shirts standing behind a ball.

Local junior footballers Emmy Jeffrey and Ashlyn Cornolo sport their Australia replica kits.(ABC South East SA: Sam Bradbrook)

McCormick said the development of the women’s game in Australia was at a “really important position” after the tournament.

“Right now, off the back of all this momentum, is the time to be advertising, is the time to be selling memberships, is the time to be getting our league out there,” she said.

“There is the curiosity from the public and the community, and now’s the time to be putting ads on TV and on social media … targeting people to come out and support the local league.

“I think if we don’t make the most of this opportunity now, we potentially miss the boat and miss those people who are wanting to get on board and support now.”

A decision on the proposal is expected within the next two weeks.

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