Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
The rise of women's football -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

The rise of women's football

Women's football is booming. In fact, it's arguably the fastest growing sport in the country.

Transcript

This transcript was typed from a recording of the program. The ABC cannot guarantee its complete
accuracy because of the possibility of mishearing and occasional difficulty in identifying
speakers.

[Excerpt of W-League launch]

Mick O'Regan: The sound of the sporting future.

Women's football, yes I realise many of you still call it Soccer, is booming. In fact, it's
arguably the fastest growing sport in the country.

And emblematic of the youth and enthusiasm of women's football is the 20-year-old captain of the
Central Coast Mariners in the W-League, Caitlin Cooper.

Hers is a great story of the talented youngster who earned her footballing spurs playing against
boys, something that suited her dynamic style of play and which she now attributes to her
unyielding defence.

Caitlin Cooper: I've always been the kind of strong girl, so all the boys in the league are
wondering why I pushed them off the ball. I'd give it back to them. Like I don't care if they're
boys, I suppose they didn't care if I was a girl either. So it's fantastic being able to play with
boys.

Mick O'Regan: Tell me about the mentality that accompanies girls' and boys' sport. For you to be a
bit aggressive at the ball and a hard player, which is what I'm hearing you say, was that
encouraged by your coaches, or did they think that was inappropriate?

Caitlin Cooper: They encouraged it. I think that's one of my strengths, like why I'm a defender
now, I was a midfield player, now I'm a defender, and I think that's one of my greatest strengths
about being strong on the ball and to increase our strength we do gym work and so on, so we can
push those like Chinese off the ball, because in the States and stuff they're a lot stronger than
the Aussie girls.

Mick O'Regan: But I'm really interested in the development of your skills, so when you were playing
in the under-17s were you targeted by coaching staff or by talent scouts, as a young girl who had a
serious future in football?

Caitlin Cooper: I did have a say in it in some aspects. but the coach approached my family because
I was so young and from there like it's all my decision now and I've just been working hard at it,
and again going back to playing with boys, with our NWSIS program, we're not actually allowed to
play in a women's comp because they think it's unfair or whatever, so we're actually in the boys'
premier league; in the winter months we were playing against boys like every week, week in, week
out, so that increases our skill, because they're just so much quicker than us and we won't improve
playing with girls at a local level, so that's why we're in the boys' comp, so it's great with
that.

Mick O'Regan: Now you're of the generation Caitlin, where young women playing football or soccer in
Australia, really have role models. There's now obviously the W-League, the Women's League in
Australia, but there's also much higher profile for soccer generally, you know the Socceroos made
the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany obviously, the Matildas had played very well. How important is
it for you as a young woman playing football, to have those role models, to see the code really
progress in Australia?

Caitlin Cooper: It's fantastic. One of my greatest role models is - you obviously know Cheryl
Salisbury, I've been around her for many years now and the way she conducts herself on and off the
field is just amazing. And like you said, women's soccer is growing faster and faster each year,
and with this new W-League it's just great for younger and older people to get their foot in the
door and for us to be actually be competitive on the world stage. That's the ultimate goal, like
women's soccer to be up there, one, two in the world. But for now, we're I think 15th in the world
for the women, and we want to get higher and higher, so having role models like Cheryl to kind of
push us and get us going, it's just fantastic.

Mick O'Regan: Now Cheryl Salisbury is a central defender in the Matildas. Now that's the role you
have with the Central Coast Mariners, isn't it?

Caitlin Cooper: Yes.

Mick O'Regan: So in that back four, you're centre field in that back four, basically the last line
of defence in front of the goalkeeper.

Caitlin Cooper: Yes, that's correct.

Mick O'Regan: So what elements of Cheryl's game do you seek to copy, to emulate?

Caitlin Cooper: Her communication skills. Like I'm getting there, but I think - like you can always
improve obviously, but she can just pick a team up when they're all down, and that's some skills I
need to learn about, and I admire her with those skills, it's just fantastic.

Mick O'Regan: What do you think leading footballers have to do off field? What's your sense of the
role model that you're becoming?

Caitlin Cooper: I don't want to be front page of the papers like the Rugby League - I shouldn't use
that as an example, but I think you have to be very approachable for starters, like you have to
watch what you do, wherever you are. We're not as known as the men, but we're getting there, and
you don't want like women's soccer to be putting a bad word on women's soccer for the way you act
around - do you get me? when you're out in public.

Mick O'Regan: I do, absolutely, indeed. And your generation is the generation that's going to take
women's football to that next level. Now I want to ask you about being the Captain of the Central
Coast Mariners. I can hear in your voice your youth, and I have met you, so I know that you are a
young woman. Is it a big responsibility to be very young and to be the Captain of a W-League team?

Caitlin Cooper: When I was appointed the actual captaincy, like there's girls that are 32 in my
team, and like I'm only 20, it's really hard to - I think the reason why I got the captaincy
because I'm very approachable, I can talk to the girls whenever, about anything. It's just
fantastic to captain the girls, and all ages, there's girls of 16 in my team and there's girls 32
in my team, so it's great.

Mick O'Regan: Can there be any doubt she'll one day play for Australia?

Caitlin Cooper, captain of the Central Coast Mariners in the W-League.

And that's it for The Sports Factor for this week.

Now for those of you who tuned in in order to hear the conversation with Shane Gould, well it'll be
on next week's Sports Factor, I promise.

What a fascinating person Shane Gould is. For many people she simply disappeared. Well she did
quite elite swimming earlier than some officials had hoped, but she's gone on to live a rich and
diverse life which has had a commitment to movement and exercise as a continuous element.

Shane Gould, next week on The Sports Factor.

Thanks to the team of producer Andrew Davies, technical producer Jim Ussher and to the tireless
Sabrina Lipovic in ABC Radio Archives.

I'm Mick O'Regan, thanks for listening. I hope you'll join me at the same time next week for
another edition of The Sports Factor here on ABC Radio National.