Southern Tablelands Football Association director, Craig Norris, recently revealed how an innocuous coaching clinic in Goulburn led to $750,000 in state government funding for regional football.
The grant was announced by Football NSW in late January, and will be divvied up in instalments of $250,000 over three years.
Norris explained that the funding, which will be used to facilitate the identification and ongoing development of talented female players from regional areas, was linked to Goulburn through a clinic run last July.
"Peter Hugg [Head of Football for Football NSW] was coming through town after the announcement, and stopped by for a coffee and a chat," Norris said.
"He mentioned that it had all come about with a random coaching clinic we had last year with [former Matilda] Heather Garriock. She walked in and said 'you've got some talent down there in Goulburn, what are you going to do about it?' and it all went from there."
The funding, which was described as "much-needed" by Hugg, will offer Football NSW to the opportunity to invest in and support talented female players from remote areas of the state.
"It provides us with the opportunity to invest in young girls in the region, both in the lead-up to and beyond the 2023 Women's World Cup," Hugg said.
"It may be too late for 2023, but in 2027, we hope to have regional NSW players in our national squads."
The funding allows Football NSW to take a multi-faceted approach, and will be put to use in a number of different ways.
"There's several elements, there's the talent identification and spotting what's out there," Hugg said.
"And then it's supporting those that we already know and trying to fast-track their development. But it's also to alleviate some of the financial burden that some of the country girls and their parents have to go through."
Norris was particularly pleased to see Football NSW acknowledge the depth of talent which exists in the more remote areas of the state.
"They've identified that they need to get out in those areas and find the talent, and they've discovered that the talent's there," Norris said.
"Rather than Sydney players having to go to Sydney trials to get noticed, and they may have an off day. Whereas playing in their local area, they may be more focused and relaxed.
"A lot of the kids who are quite talented don't go away to the trials because they think 'I'm not quite at that standard'."
Current Matilda Ellie Carpenter, who is fittingly from the regional NSW town of Cowra, has been confirmed as the ambassador for the program.
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