From a dribble to a flood

Festival chair Jane Fraser, Matildas goal-scoring machine Lisa De Vanna, festival founder Brian Smith, artist Mel Spillman and Fremantle mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge with a couple of teams’ worth of round ball fanatics at this week’s launch of the Festival of Soccer. Photo by Steve Grant.

A NEW soccer festival in Fremantle and Melville is expected to attract 500 players when it kicks off on the eve of the FIFA Women’s World Cup heading Down Under.

The Festival of Soccer will feature a five-a-side, multi-pitch tournament for girls and women at Fremantle Oval on Saturday July 15 next year, followed by a championship tournament at Tompkins Park the following day where the winners get to hold up the Lisa De Vanna Cup.

The cup is named after the retired Matildas champion, who was a graduate of John Curtin College of the Arts’ specialist football program and attended this week’s launch of the festival.

Festival chair Jane Fraser, who recently stepped down as CEO of Fremantle Press, said having the World Cup in Australia presented a great opportunity to cement gains made by round ball enthusiasts.

“The event is to encourage women and girls to join in club sports and participate in soccer – one of the fastest growing sports for women,” Ms Fraser said.

The event is being sponsored by Football West, Perth Glory and a handful of suburban clubs, as well as Fremantle and Melville councils, the latter commissioning Noongar artist Mel Spillman to design the logo and artwork for the event.

Pathways

“I created the artwork Djookan Spirit for the tournament and City of Melville, telling the story of  the sport I am incredibly passionate about, the pathways, opportunities and support for girls and women in this sport and the sisterly connections and team spirit it creates,” Spillman said of her work.

The football festival comes hot on the heels of the McGowan government’s drop of the B-side to 2020’s massive Highway to Hell tribute to AC/DC frontman Bon Scott, which filled Canning Highway from Melville to Fremantle with 145,000 fans watching bands perform their heroes’ hits from the back of trucks.

This time High Voltage, which will be on Sunday, May 7, is Freo’s own event and will see a musical procession through the port city’s streets passing by multiple “fan zones”.

Premier Mark McGowan says Highway to Hell was a “dynamite” event.

“We know large-scale tourism events are a massive attraction for visitors and locals who together are big contributors to local businesses, giving an injection into the local economy and supporting jobs,” Mr McGowan said.

With Tourism WA estimating the first event generated more than $6.1 million in economic activity, the event is likely to be a welcome boon to local businesses as it’s likely to be an annual event.

by STEVE GRANT

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