La Trobe University new home for the Matildas

Picture La Trobe University

Tara Murray

La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus will be home to the Australian women’s soccer team.

It was announced on Sunday, that the state government had committed $1.5 million in funding to plan and design a new facility for the Matildas, along with a separate State Rugby Union Centre, which will both be part of the university’s Sports Park.

The university was one of several locations slated for the Matildas’ new home, including the City of Casey Maroondah, Brimbank, Maribyrnong, Darebin and the city of Greater Shepparton.

It’s hoped the first stage of the soccer facility will be ready ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is being held in Australia and New Zealand.

Football Victoria chief executive Peter Filopoulos is delighted that after two years of driving the project they had secured the backing of the state government for crucial planning works.

The federal government has already committed $15 million towards the construction of the Home of the Matildas.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to partner with the state government on this project and to have their financial backing for this initial stage means we can get the ball rolling,” Mr Filopoulos said.

“If we have the first phase built in time for the 2023 World Cup it would give our girls the best chance of success.”

“Further, this facility will serve as the future headquarters of Football Victoria and be the home of all high-performance programs for women, men, girls and boys.”

The new facilities will be part of the University’s City of the Future plan and the University’s Sports Park Master Plan.

The first two stages of the sports park plan included a six-court indoor stadium, research laboratories and facilities for soccer, football, cricket and baseball.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the facility was already world class and this would provide further benefits for those in the north and their students.

The State Rugby Union Centre will include training and administration space for programs including the Melbourne Rebels’ Super W team.

Melbourne Rebels chair Paul Docherty welcomed the announcement.

“The creation of the Victorian Rugby Centre of Excellence at La Trobe University would underpin the continuing growth of our sport in Victoria and maximise its benefit to the community and participants for decades to come.”