Former Matildas midfielder and Sydney FC W-League captain Teresa Polias believes a women’s World Cup on home soil would be the biggest thing to happen to women’s football in the history of the sport in Australia.
It was announced on Tuesday that Australia would launch a bid to host the 2023 FIFA women's World Cup fully supported by the federal government which has pledged $1million in initial funding. It will also commit a further $4million in December if Australia is deemed a reasonable hosting prospect.
The 24-team tournament could be primarily hosted by either Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth or Canberra.
The Matildas, ranked eighth in the world, would gain automatic qualification for the tournament and would be amongst the favourites to lift the trophy after making the quarter-finals at the last two World Cups.
Polias, from Brighton-Le-Sands, told the Leader a women’s World Cup in Australia would have limitless potential.
“I was so pleasantly shocked by it,” she said.
“It’s huge, exciting news for the women’s game. It’s massive. The Matildas are already so strong but in terms of taking it to the next level this is a real opportunity for us to do something special.
“I think Australia as a whole ticks all the boxes. Participation rates for women’s football are already booming and with events like this that are so unique to football, a World Cup in our home country, what a huge thing for the game to draw young girls to play.”
The Carss Park and Ramsgate junior, who has 10 caps for Australia, represented the Matildas at the 2015 World Cup. She has also made more than 100 appearances in the W-League with the Sky Blues and the Central Coast.
While acknowledging there was still much work to be done before Australia won hosting rights, Polias said the Matildas would be ready to challenge for the World Cup come 2023.
“We can absolutely win it,” she said.
“The team itself now is quite young. They’ve got some incredibly world class players and in six years time will probably be in the peak of their careers.
“We’ll be a more mature team by that time and they can definitely win it. It’s such an exciting time.”
Despite not playing for Australia since the 2015 World Cup, Polias said she hadn’t closed the door on international football.
But for now her focus was on trying to go one better with Sydney FC next season under new coach Ante Juric.
“It’s sad Dan [Barrett] had to move on. A lot of us players owe him a lot, I personally wouldn’t be still in the game if it wasn’t for him,” Polias said.
“But Ante is a quality coach. It’s sort of like starting again, having to impress. But hopefully we can continue where we left off and look to win another championship.”