Australian football greats Theresa Deas and Debbie Nichols have signed on as Team 11 ambassadors.
A week after celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Matildas’ first-ever appearance at a FIFA tournament – a tournament at which Deas, Nichols and fellow south-east Victorian product Jane Oakley all played – Deas and Nichols have declared support for their home region’s push for A-League and W-League admission.
Deas, an 18-times capped Matilda across a 10-year international career, represented Victoria for 18 years throughout playing days at Dandenong City, Dandenong North, Waverley City, Berwick City and Casey Comets.
Nichols earned 12 Matildas caps and played for Victoria for 20 years as well as for Springvale, Dandenong North, Dandenong, Berwick City and Casey Comets.
Football Federation Victoria Hall of Fame member Nichols, now a junior coach with Southern United in the WNPL, said it felt right for her to become a Team 11 ambassador.
“I’ve been involved in football in the south-east since 1977,” Nichols said.
“There is so much opportunity in this region to have an A-League and W-League side. If Team 11 can get the licence football will boom even more than it is already is.
“You see the talent even just in Gippsland, who are hampered by distance, it’s a hotbed.
“And then, when you include the south-east corridor, there is no doubt there is capability and the players to have a strong W-League team in the south-east.”
Deas, a Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame member, said it is imperative a W-League bid is attached to Team 11’s A-League bid.
“I’m a Dandenong girl. I played all of my career in the Dandneong-Casey region and it’s at the bottom of my heart to promote football in the area,” Deas said.
“I really think if we’re going to go forward for women’s football in this state and in this country then there should be more equality.
“For that reason I think we should make sure if there are any new A-League bids that we start at the start for both sexes and that every opportunity is given to all people who want to play football, so there is an actual career pathway from grassroots through to elite for every child.”