Carpenter on mission to find future generation of regional female footballers

Ellie Carpenter in action for the Matildas Source: Getty Images

Ellie Carpenter has been unveiled as the ambassador and lead mentor for a support program set up by Football NSW and Northern NSW Football.

Originally from the small New South Wales town of Cowra, Carpenter will now head up a group of former Matildas that will provide support and advice to talented girls residing in regional areas.

The 20-year-old has had a meteoric rise to stardom, having already amassed over 40 appearances for Australia, and hopes her new role will help usher in a new generation of country-based footballers.

"I’m over the moon to be part of this great initiative," Carpenter said.

“I have been wanting to align myself with something like this for a long time and put time towards trying to close the gap between opportunities afforded to metro and country-based girls.

“I am really looking forward to seeing many more regional girls realise their dreams in our beloved sport.

"There is no doubt that this funding and the opportunities that it provides will be a massive boost for women’s football in regional NSW.

"It will also have a positive effect on participation whilst raising the bar with regards to competitiveness throughout all the associations and their leagues.

"It will go a long way to rewarding girls with talent, a hard work ethic and ability, whilst giving them the opportunity to succeed and follow their dreams."

The young defender's determination has seen her, too, achieve her dreams, typified by her move from the W-League and NWSL to women's football powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais last season.

But despite her on-field success - which includes a W-League and UEFA Women's Champions League title - fostering a new wave of regional talent could soon be Carpenter's best achievement yet.

“There is so much raw talent unknown out there and I’m on a mission to discover the future generation of women footballers for the game I love," she added.

“My dream is to see many more country girls grow, develop and prosper as footballers so they can continue driving this amazing initiative in years to come.”

Football NSW's head of football, Peter Hugg, was full of praise for the government-backed program, which will provide players with specialised training camps and workshops.

“We want to help players that are already on our radar reach their potential," Hugg said.

"But just as importantly, we are keen to unearth the next Ellie, Sally Shipard, Gema Simon or Ashleigh Sykes and those youngsters that just need a lucky break and for someone to care.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for these players to be seen and identified and brought into our pathways.

“We are fully aware of the challenges faced by those in our country regions as well as the costs involved, the distances travelled, and the many sacrifices made by parents.

"Through this government funding we aim to help remove some of the geographical and financial hurdles that these players face.”