Mariners make bid for entry into W-League

Australian football legend Ms Julie Dolan is supporting the Mariners’ bid to establish a W-League teamAustralian football legend Ms Julie Dolan is supporting the Mariners’ bid to establish a W-League team

The Central Coast Mariners are excited to announce the appointments of former Matildas’ Captain, Julie Dolan, and Mariners Academy Women’s NPL Head Coach, Dan Barrett, as Ambassadors for the club’s bid to have a Westfi eld W-League team introduced to the 2018/19 season.

The announcement was made on May 22 at Central Coast Stadium by Mariners’ CEO, Shaun Mielekamp. “Firstly I would like to thank Central Coast Council and the great crew at Central Coast Stadium for their hard work and commitment to ensuring that we can now play doubleheaders here at the venue,” Mielekamp said. “This ticks a huge box for us to get our W-League team finally up and running again. “Our iconic stadium will host bigger crowds through doubleheaders, whilst supporters of the Women’s game, who have been disengaged for so long, will have a team they can call their own,” Mielekamp said. “It is important for everyone to know just how committed and serious we are about bringing a W-league team to this community, and completing the football landscape on the Coast.

“We have sponsors ready to go, we have players that want to sign with us, we now have all the state of the art facilities and the support needed to make sure we can finally complete the Central Coast Mariners’ brand, and have the same opportunities granted to us, that all other Australian based A-League teams have,” Mielekamp said. “For us to have the ability to draw on such a wealth of experience and talent in, Julie Dolan and Dan Barrett, is just our most recent step, but a very important one that will ensure there is no doubt in anyone’s minds that the Central Coast Mariners W-League will be a huge success,” Mielekamp said.

Recognised as the pioneer of women’s football in Australia, Dolan began her career as a 14-year-old and went on to become the first Captain of the squad in 1979, at only 16-years-of-age. Leading the squad to the first Women’s World Cup in 1988, Dolan is also an inductee of Football Federation Australia’s Hall of Fame and holds 34 international caps to her name across a 14-year professional career. “I am honoured to be an Ambassador for the Central Coast Mariners and excited to be working with them to introduce a W-League team for the upcoming season,” Dolan said.

“The Central Coast is an untapped source, full of female football talent, and by expanding the league to a tenth team, it will add to the national talent pool, and provide a fantastic opportunity for female footballers and their fans on the Coast. “The Mariners aspire for these women to become role models in the community, and show young girls that they can achieve a professional career playing the sport they love,” Dolan said. Dan Barrett shared these sentiments with his International Football School colleague, stressing the importance of a tenth team in the Westfi eld W-League to provide more opportunities for young female stars. “It is vitally important, in particular for our younger players on the Central Coast, to be provided with a local stage where they can play at the highest level,” Barrett said.

“It has been extremely tough for our local juniors who are required to travel two hours up or down the road to gain access to the W-League, and sometimes that can have detrimental effects on a young player,” Barrett said. A former W-League coach with Sydney FC, Barrett has lived on the Central Coast for over 17 years, and is enjoying his new role to grow the game for women locally, and continue to strengthen our national side. The Central Coast Mariners are encouraging everyone on the Coast to show their support for a women’s team in the national competition, and Mielekamp says it’s easy for fans to get involved.

“I implore all football fans, and sports fans in general on the Coast, to get behind this and show that there is a really strong level of community spirit to ensure that we have a team represent us on the national stage,” Mielekamp said. “Whether that’s by connecting via social media to the campaign or by coming along to one of our upcoming WNPL matches, anything fans can do to show their support is greatly appreciated and will help make sure the FFA know that there is a serious and very important decision to be made,” Mielekamp said.

Source: Media release, May 22 Carly Carmichael, Central Coast Mariners FC