Hundreds of students from across Australia are meeting at the home of the Matildas this week as the School Sport Australia 12 years and under Soccer Championship kicks off.
The annual competition has become a launching pad for many champions with teams from all seven mainland states and territories producing one team each in the boys’ and girls’ competitions, and host state Victoria fielding two in each category to make up eight teams battling for victory.
Supported by School Sport Victoria, the boys will be hoping to defend their title after winning the competition in 2022, while the girls will be looking for their first trip to the winners’ podium since 2017.
“Participation in school sport provides fantastic opportunities for students to demonstrate leadership, resilience, and teamwork as well as form strong friendships,” Victoria’s Education Minister Mr Ben Carroll said.
The home of the Matildas and Victorian State Football Centre project is being funded as part of the state government’s $101 million investment into the La Trobe University Sports Park, with $42.29 million invested in the hub.
La Trobe University Sports Park is located in Bundoora, in Melbourne’s north-east.
“Facilities like these are providing spaces for aspiring soccer stars to get the training they need to make Australia proud – and they’re right here in Bundoora,” Member for Bundoora Mr Colin Brooks said.
The four teams representing Victoria at the four-day competition are part of its ‘Team Vic’ state representative program which provides almost 1,000 opportunities to represent the state in 19 sports. The program has a record of creating future state, national, world and Olympic and Paralympic champions.