Former national footballer says World Cup can spark next generation

Icon: Popularity of icons like Sam Kerr and a home World Cup could spur on the next generation of stars says former national player Jane Hornsby. Picture: FFA

Icon: Popularity of icons like Sam Kerr and a home World Cup could spur on the next generation of stars says former national player Jane Hornsby. Picture: FFA

Former Australian national footballer Jane Hornsby is thrilled to see the World Cup coming to Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

The Eden Marine High PE teacher donned the green and gold for Australia as a youth player in 1989 and again in 1993 for the women's squad and said the last two World Cup campaigns had flourished interest in the women's game.

"That's something that has resonated with me, the last two World Cup campaigns have been the biggest advocates for the women's game," Ms Horsnby said.

"Speaking to people over the last eight years, their excitement and interest would have been unheard of 10 years ago."

Increased television coverage with games at a reasonable hour as well as the chance to see some games live are part and parcel of the excitement, but more chances for budding young players was the crux, Ms Hornsby said.

"I'm excited about it coming to Australia because it's going to provide more opportunity to young players who aspire to be that calibre of athlete and hopefully encourage some endorsement of the sport here locally," she beamed.

She said reaching the heights of women's football took enormous passion and sacrifice, but the exposure and potential tourist dollars of bringing the World Cup home could be a boost for the next generation of national players. "It's only a matter of time before we have kids going through to a national level - there is the ability and potential here to do it.

"As a school teacher here at Eden with just the success of the Matildas in their last few campaigns it has become a topic of conversation not just for the girls, but the boys as well," Ms Hornsby said.

"Iconic players like Sam Kerr have become a hot topic and their success is driving the conversation.

"It's a real testament to the game to see things moving in a positive direction - it's fantastic to have it here."

Ms Hornsby said growing up in Sydney was an advantage on her journey to reaching the national team, but there were still financial and travel constraints for aspiring players on the Far South Coast.

"With the World Cup coming here, there are girls who might not otherwise get the opportunity who could start to be noticed."

Ms Hornsby said there is already talented young women aspiring to the next level like Eden's Charli Mitchell and Cobargo's EJ Norris who have played in Canberra and representative outfits, while her own daughter Emma Bennett and Bega's Luella Boulton form part of the Southern Branch FC to contest a 22-week state comp based in Nowra.

"We travel to Nowra each weekend, or further if it is an away game," she said.

"And I only hope the news of this tournament looks at tapping in to some of the grassroots talent in regional areas because there is a lot of talent there."

This story Football World Cup to spur next generation of stars first appeared on Magnet.