The Victorian government will kick more than $100 million into the construction of a “state-of-the-art” football facility at Bundoora as part of next week’s budget.
- The Matildas will use the centre as their Victorian base, spending about 140 days there each year
- The hub will be used by grassroots clubs and connect with La Trobe University’s sports science programs
- The soccer centre is expected to be complete before the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be played in Australia
The government says the venue, which will serve as a state base for the Matildas, should be finished by 2023.
That will enable the Australian women’s soccer team to use the space as a hub during that year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Matildas captain Sam Kerr said the prospect of a centre specifically designed for her team was “very exciting”.
“The team loves playing in Melbourne and we really look forward to having a dedicated base where we can train and prepare for matches when we are in Victoria,” she said.
The government said the Matildas would spend about 140 days a year at the centre, which will include a gym and medical and recovery areas.
The hub will be built at La Trobe University’s Bundoora Sports Park, with a design that incorporates the planned Victorian State Rugby Centre as well.
The federal government has contributed $15 million towards the project.
The centre’s pitches and community-level programs will be open for grassroots clubs, including training for referees and coaches.
The facility will also host Football Victoria’s high-performance program for young talented players.
Acting Premier James Merlino said the centre would offer a “world-class home in the heart of Melbourne” for the nation’s female football stars.
“When we say we’re serious about improving the visibility of our female athletes — we mean it,” he said.
“Not only will this investment deliver new facilities, it will mean more young soccer fans get to see their heroes up close.”