Home of the Matildas female-focused facility



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Australia training facility opens Image: Populous

The Home of the Matildas’ (Australia women’s national soccer team) brand new elite training facility is set to welcome players after it was officially opened by Steve Dimopoulos, Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events on July 3rd at the La Trobe University Sports Park in Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.

‘POPULOUS’ stated that the $57 million facility is one of the first and largest football-specific infrastructure projects in Australia’s history and a significant accomplishment for the sport in the country, supported and embraced by the Victorian Government and the Federal Government.

The Australia women’s national soccer team is overseen by the governing body for soccer in Australia, Football Australia, which is currently a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the regional ASEAN Football Federation since leaving the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) in 2006. The team’s official nickname is ‘the Matildas’.

Sydney (Australia)-based Football Australia is the governing body of soccer, futsal and beach soccer within Australia, headquartered in Sydney. Although the first governing body of the sport was founded in 1911, Football Australia in its current form was only established in 1961 as the Australian Soccer Federation.

Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)-based the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is the governing body of association football, beach football and futsal in some countries/territories in Asia and Oceania. It has 47 member-countries most of which are located in Asia. Australia, formerly in OFC, joined AFC in 2006.

Petaling Jaya (Malaysia)-based the ASEAN Football Federation is an organization within the Asian Football Confederation and is an international governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer in Southeast Asia.

Auckland (New Zealand)-based the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) is one of the six continental confederations of international association football. The OFC has 13 members, 11 of which are full members and two which are associate members not affiliated with FIFA.

The La Trobe University is a public research university based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Its main campus is located in the suburb of Bundoora. The university was established in 1964, becoming the third university in the State of Victoria and the 12th university in Australia.

The La Trobe Sports Park is a unique environment for sport, active recreation, teaching, and research.

Kansas City, Missouri (US)-based Populous is a global architectural and design practise specializing in sports facilities, arenas and convention centers, as well as the planning and design of major special events.

‘POPULOUS’ further stated that the facility provides a world-class elite training environment that is for the CommBank Matildas’ exclusive use whenever they are in camp and is also the permanent home for Football Victoria’s administration and representative teams for women and men of all ages, providing year-round access for young juniors, youth and elite teams with training and match facilities for the entire Victorian football community.

The La Trobe University students will also benefit from the partnership with access to many of the facilities, as well as student placements and research studies providing real-life training and benefits to all athletes and officials around high-performance training and recovery, sports science education and research.

The Home of the Matildas will deliver an experience unparalleled in Australian football and has been designed with the aspiration of becoming the finest female-focused facility in Asia, a living testament to Football Victoria’s goal of achieving gender equity in football by 2027.

As the Principal Design Consultant, Populous created a modern, centralized, gender-neutral facility to support a ‘Football for All’ venue for players and officials of the ‘World Game’.

Populous Senior Principal Belinda Goh said the intersection of universal design principles and designing for equity were used to deliver the project vision and unite a football organization into a new home – “Working together with a range of stakeholders over the life of the project, we designed and delivered solutions for equitable access and universal spaces for a flexible age group from young children to elite. Populous brought our deep understanding of the current and future needs of an elite training facility to the project. The mixed-use, flexible design shows that women’s teams don’t necessarily need different, standalone facilities, rather a commitment to equitable access. It becomes more efficient and affordable in the long term if a ‘designing for all’ approach is adopted. The Home of the Matildas offers an equal playing field for females in sport as officials, fans and players while fostering a deep sense of connection to our nation’s best women’s team.”

Key design elements include gender-neutral facilities, flexible spaces, increased privacy as well as collaboration spaces for various lifestyle phases of parenthood, education, to work, and training.

The Populous Associate Principal and Project Architect on the Matildas Taryn McQueen said new possibilities are created for the professional sports ecosystem when a commitment to equitable design and operation of facilities are brought together -“Understanding the benefits of greater inclusion by the stakeholders supports greater sustainability for the code through wider participation from community to elite, as well as new opportunities for sponsors and fans of the game to engage, often providing additional revenue streams. This facility has been designed to flex up and down, from smaller community style events and programs, university activities, talented player programs right through to major match day events and tournaments.

Opened in time for the venue to be a team base camp during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023™, the facility will officially host the Jamaican Women’s National Football Team.

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ will be the ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, the quadrennial international football (soccer) championship contested by the women’s national teams and organized by FIFA. The tournament will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and is scheduled to take place from July 20th to August 20th, 2023.

It will then be available for use by the Australian women’s team in preparation for future tournaments and is equally capable of hosting training camps for elite women’s and men’s representative teams across all age groups, including the Young Matildas, Olyroos (Australia men’s national Under-23 soccer team) and Socceroos (Australia men’s national soccer team).

The CommBank Matildas are one of the first elite national women’s teams in Australia to have a dedicated home base with locker room facilities and amenities designed for their exclusive use.

Added McQueen, “Golden tones and deep greens that identify with the club’s colors energize the space with a team spirit that is guaranteed to motivate them for a win, every time. The use of the national team colors is also intended to inspire younger players.”

Football Victoria will also be relocating to the brand-new, state of the art offices at the precinct, bringing the football and administrative operations of the organization together at a singular venue for the very first time.

The facility will provide a world-class training facility and a home that celebrates and recognizes the pinnacle of women’s football in Australia and provides a global benchmark that will enable the world game for women.

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