Season six of the Westfield W-League was launched today with the upcoming season to be marked by increased television coverage and international players.
Season six of the Westfield W-League was launched today with the upcoming season to be marked by increased television coverage and the addition of further high-quality international players.
Representatives of all eight clubs - Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Canberra United, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers - were on hand in Sydney today ahead of this weekend-s opening round.
ABC TV will again continue to broadcast the Westfield W-League as they have done since the competition-s inception, with live matches returning to Australian screens each Sunday at 3pm.
For the first time Fox Sports will also broadcast two Westfield W-League matches during the season. These matches will be part of W-League / A-League doubleheaders, another feature of the new season.
Last season was widely credited as the best playing standard yet seen in the Westfield W-League, and the coming campaign will be complemented by the arrival of several star international recruits.
Leading the way is reigning European Player of the Year and FIFA Women-s World Cup-winner Nadine Angerer. The Germany goalkeeper, who is also a nominee for the upcoming FIFA World Player of the year Award, will don the gloves for Brisbane Roar.
USA midfielder Lori Lindsey, another former World Cup participant, will sport the green of Canberra alongside fellow American imports Stephanie Ochs and Kendall Fletcher.
Perth Glory, meanwhile, have been boosted by Canada World Cup striker Christina Julien among others.
Star players from the Westfield Matildas will also again be a focal point with Lisa De Vanna (Melbourne Victory), Melissa Barbieri (Adelaide United) and Emily van Egmond (Western Sydney Wanderers) among the headline moves.
So too, much interest will focus on the return of several national team players from long-term injury, including Lydia Williams (Canberra United), Ash Brown (Melbourne Victory) and Leena Khamis (Sydney FC), as the Westfield Matildas cast one eye towards next year-s AFC Asian Cup, which doubles as World Cup qualifying.
FFA CEO David Gallop said the Westfield W-League season is a crucial part of football-s strategic objective to become the biggest and most popular sport in Australia.
“Football is a game for women just as much as it is for men,” said Gallop. “It-s our clear point of difference against all the other footy brands in this country. No other brand of footy can provide their female players with the opportunities that come from playing football, at the elite level or the grassroots.
“The W-League is skilful, athletic and entertaining. I have no doubt the competition is entering an exciting period of growth with the live TV coverage from ABC and Fox Sports.”
ABC TV will again cover the ‘match of the week- live and exclusive on ABC1 throughout the 14 week competition that includes the Westfield W-League Finals Series.
"The ABC are delighted to be broadcasting the W-League live this season and to be broadcasting matches live in the family friendly 3.00pm timeslot on Sunday afternoons," said ABC head of Sport and Events, Justin Holdforth.
"The massive success of the A-League shows Australians have really taken to football and we look forward to this success flowing to the W-League"
Fox Sports will also broadcast the following two Westfield W-League matches as they form part of Hyundai A-League/Westfield W-League double headers: • Sunday 15 December, Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory 2.15pm, Allianz Stadium • Friday 24 January: Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers, 4pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Westfield W-League action kicks off this weekend with a series of epic first round match-ups.
The highlight is a Grand Final rematch between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC at Melbourne-s Lakeside Stadium, which will also be the televised match for the opening round.
The round also has two former champions going head-to-head as Canberra United visit Brisbane Roar at their AJ Kelly Fields. Western Sydney Wanderers are looking for a big crowd at Marconi Stadium when they host Adelaide United, while Perth Glory make the long trip to Newcastle Jets and Wanderers Oval.
The season will conclude with the Grand Final on Sunday 23 February.
Click here to see the full Westfield W-League Season 2013/14 draw.