The Westfield Junior Matildas will be the first Australian national football team to visit the Solomon Islands since the Socceroos in 2005 when they play the Solomon Islands U-19 women’s national team at Lawson Tama on Thursday, 15 August 2019.
The young Australian female footballers will tour the Pacific as part of the ‘Pacific Step-Up’ and the Australian Pacific Sports Linkages Program in partnership with the Australian Government and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.
“Football Federation Australia (FFA) is proud to be partnering with the Australian Government on another significant foreign policy initiative, in the Pacific Step-Up,” FFA’s Chief Operating Officer & Head of International Relations, Mark Falvo, said.
“As part of our commitment to supporting the development of football internationally, we’ve worked with more than 35 countries – both in and out of our home confederation of Asia – oftentimes in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT), as part of the Australian Government’s Sports Diplomacy 2030 Strategy.
“The ability to bring an expanded travelling party is an evolution of that DFAT partnership, and will allow us to increase the number of football development initiatives we can deliver while on the tour. These initiatives are designed to support the ongoing work that our counterparts do to grow football in their countries, and we’re excited at the opportunity to work with them.”
Westfield Junior Matildas head coach Rae Dower is excited ahead of the Pacific tour and he is optimistic that everyone involve in the tour will experience a lot of new things.
“I’m delighted to announce the Junior Matildas’ squad for the upcoming Pacific Step-Up Tour to Tonga, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands. This tour will provide the squad with valuable training and match conditions against opponents who play a different style of football, and will expose our players to a variety of environmental and football challenges that they will need to overcome,” Dower said.
“The additional social and cultural benefits for the players and staff on a unique tour opportunity like this will help to build relationships with Australia and the South Pacific region. I am confident that they will be fabulous ambassadors for the FFA and for Australia, and that football will once again prove to be the game that brings the whole world together.”
Delivered in partnership with the Tonga Football Association, Vanuatu Football Federation and Solomon Islands Football Federation, the Westfield Junior Matildas and its expanded travelling party will conduct a number of coaching and refereeing workshops, as well as skills clinics, while visiting the three countries on the tour.
The Westfield Junior Matildas will use their tour of the Pacific in August as preparation for the 2019 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship, which will be held in Thailand in September.
Meanwhile, the Solomon Islands U-19 women’s national team will also use the friendly match as preparation for the 2019 OFC U-19 Women’s Championship in Cook Islands which set to be held from 30 August to 12 September.
Solomon Islands U-19 Women’s National Team v Westfield Junior Matildas
Date: Thursday, 15 August 2019
Kick-Off: 4:00pm (local); 5:00pm (AEST)
Venue: Lawson Tama Stadium, Honiara, Solomon Islands