The Football Federation of Australia, in conjunction with State Institutes and State Federations have established National Training Centre’s (NTC) around the country for both male and female players.

The programs have been, and continue to be highly successful in providing the country’s elite players with the appropriate training and competition environment.

The national driven NTC State based programs have been in operation in the Eastern States since 1997. WA had a boys program in conjunction with the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) from 1986-87 but since then no such programs have been in operation in WA. This has resulted in a gradual decline in playing standards or our players in comparison to our eastern states counterparts.

The FFA are making a concerted effort to ensure that all players irrespective of their geographical location have the opportunity to reach their potential and as such have been working closely with Football West, the Department of Sport and Recreation and WAIS to establish full time NTC programs for both males and females in Western Australia.

For WA to be competitive at the elite level and for our players to be given every opportunity to play represent the country this program is essential.
Football West’s strategic goal is to have a fulltime WAIS Football Program by 2008. With support from the FFA, the State Government and in collaboration with WAIS, an interim female program has been in operation since 2004. The boys interim program will commence in March 2006.

The female NTC program is under the guidance of current U/20 National Women’s team coach Alistair Edwards. In 2005 the Female NTC squad will be competing as a team in the U/14’s Premier League competition in line with the other states and FFA guidelines.

Over the past two years the NTC program girls have played over 30 games against U/14 boy teams. Initially, the girls struggled to adapt to the quicker and physically stronger boys but lately the games have become very competitive. Who can forget the visit of our Young Matildas in 2004 where, at Members Equity stadium the U/14 state boys team won 2-1 with a late winner from name.

The Western Waves have played a number of practice games against the U/14 Premier League boys teams in preparation for their National League season, with the most recent game being in late 2005 against Fremantle City’s U/14 Premier League championship winners. The Fremantle boys won 2 – 0 in what was a great game for all concerned.

These are exciting times indeed for the game in Western Australia. With the ‘A’ League going from strength to strength and WA having our very own Women’s National League team in the soon to be re-launched national women’s competition. The pathway is almost complete and with this the days of our players having to leave WA in pursuit of their dreams will be a distant memory.

Football West would like to congratulate everyone who has worked so tirelessly over the years to make this happen.

Reference: www.footballwest.com.au