A SPECIAL announcement at the Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility took place on Tuesday with City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson, declaring that Ballarat would be hosting the match between the Westfield Matilda’s and the New Zealand Ferns at Morshead Park Stadium on 4 June.
Guests were joined by Matildas coach Alen Stajcic and Co-captain Lisa de Vanna and emerging striker Larissa Crummer.
“We are really pleased that this will be the second international match, but the first international female match here,” Cr Hudson said. “Certainly my background and passion has been for local football. There was a crazy time in my life when I was actually president of my club, president of the soccer referees association and also president of the soccer association – all at the time I was about to join Victoria Police.”
Cr Hudson added he first played soccer at the age of nine and only gave up a few years ago.
“The Westfield Matildas will call Ballarat home for almost a week as they hold a number of training sessions for their preparation for their Rio Olympics campaign,” Cr Hudson said.
“This is the first time the Matildas have played in regional Victoria and how special is it that it is right here in Ballarat?
“It’s a great show of faith in Ballarat’s ability to host and accommodate international sporting teams, following on from our successful hosting of the Bahrain team as they’d prepared for their world cup tilt in 2015.” “I know the people from Ballarat will make the Matildas feel welcome and I’m sure they will inspire us all as we feel honoured to be a part of their preparation for Rio.”
Cr Hudson added that the City expected the game would generate significant economic value to the local economy with thousands of fans expected to travel to Ballarat to see the Matildas up close and personal. “There will be opportunities for our local community to meet the players while they are in town doing their training as well as some community sessions,” he said.
“For those who want to get involved I expect we will be looking for volunteers to help us welcome fans on the game day.
“It’s exciting and we look forward to the team arriving in a few weeks and helping them get the best preparation they can for their Rio campaign.