‘Bergers are United to #BreakTheBias

International Women's Day

On Wednesday, March 9, Heidelberg United held a belated celebration for International Women’s Day 2022.

The senior women’s and senior men’s teams both came together to train and share a lasagna meal for dinner to promote club unity and positive development for the women’s game.

The club itself held a sale of baked goods and scrunchies which all followed the purple colour scheme for the event, with all proceeds going towards Heidelberg’s Female Coach Mentoring Program, that aims to support young women on the path to becoming a football coach.

Here’s what our senior women’s and men’s coaches – as well as club leaders – had to say on International Women’s Day, and the development of Heidelberg’s women’s program.

Senior women’s head coach Johno Clemente:

On International Women’s Day at Heidelberg United:

“I think it’s a really important day for all the clubs that participate, the only problem, I would say with it is that it should be every day.”

“We shouldn’t have just one day of celebrating women, it should be every day. I think at Heidelberg we do that; I think we’ve got a really good history with the women’s game, especially with the new things we’re doing at the moment, it’s definitely a proud day but let’s make it everyday.”

On the development of the women’s program:

“It’s been massive since I came to the club in 2019, the growth been tremendous. For example, for this coming season, 92% of girls registered to play at Heidelberg again, which is a massive number considering the lockdowns and the turnover of players. It shows we’re doing something right for the community.”

Senior women’s captain Steph Galea:

On International Women’s Day at Heidelberg United:

“It’s probably the first time the club’s really gotten into it, especially with our season not having started yet, so the effort they’ve gone to have a day like this on a training day, to feed us and have the men’s team and the women’s team together is really special.”

“All the girls got around it and had a good time, so that’s the main thing.”

On the development of the women’s program:

“The women’s program has really developed over the last couple of years, with the amount of girls we’ve had come to trial, and the squad numbers are so big considering Covid-19.”

“The quality is also developing really positively, so it’s definitely heading in the right direction. All the girls seem really happy and I think the best part of this year is that all the girls are really united, not just within their own team, but with all the other age groups as well.”

Senior women’s vice-captain Elly Torre:

On International Women’s Day at Heidelberg United:

“I love that we’re celebrating women here because for so long its been a male dominated sport, and the fact that we’re embracing it here is beautiful.”

“The way that the men’s and women’s teams are all in there, celebrating it all, is really heart-warming, it means a lot to us.”

On the development of the women’s program:

“Over the years it has definitely gotten a lot better. I remember some women would have to begin playing with the men’s team so that was intimidating for them and over the years I think we’ve built up our junior girl’s program to be so well supported, especially by other women.”

“The younger girls come up to us and they walk out onto the pitch with us, it’s just really nice to see. I think that Johno and Helen Tyrikos have played a big part in it. Their biggest goal is to develop young girls into senior players.”

Senior men’s head coach George Katsakis:

On International Women’s Day at Heidelberg United:

“It’s very special for the club itself because we’re one of the pioneers of women’s football.”

“It’s brought a lot of female players to the club and it’s a massive part of the club at the moment. There’s a lot of respect between the men’s and women’s football here. Women’s football is a very important aspect of our football club here at Heidelberg.”

On the development of the women’s program:

“It’s been a transition that I’ve seen over many, many years, but its come a long way. Being one of the first clubs to have a women’s football program to where it is today it’s just fantastic, it’s great to see so many people involved at different levels.”

Senior men’s captain Reuben Way:

On International Women’s Day at Heidelberg United:

“The women’s game is something that Heidelberg is very proud of. If I think back to when I started at the club, it wasn’t very big but we’ve come a long way.”

“The men’s team like to celebrate the women’s game, and we like hanging out and interacting with them as well. The club is big on the community and we’re all part of it and we want to see it develop and grow.”

On the development of the women’s program:

“When I started here we didn’t see much of it, but now we see them training and see them rocking up to games and we try and support them where we can.”

“It’s come a long way and that’s credit to the progressive nature of women’s football and a lot of the work that goes on behind the scenes to unify the Heidelberg community to promote the women’s game.”