Hundreds of students from across Australia are meeting at the Home of the Matildas, as the School Sport Australia 12 Years and Under Soccer Championship kicks off.
The annual competition has become a launching pad for many champions – with teams from all seven mainland states and territories producing one team each in the boys’ and girls’ competitions, and host state Victoria fielding two in each category to make up eight teams battling for victory.
Supported by School Sport Victoria, the boys will be hoping to defend their title after winning the competition in 2022, while the girls will be looking for their first trip to the winners’ podium since 2017.
The Home of the Matildas & Victorian State Football Centre project is being funded as part of the Government’s $101 million investment into the La Trobe University Sports Park, with $42.29 million invested in the hub.
The Opening Ceremony saw athletes march onto the pitch, followed by a Welcome to Country and the National Anthem – and at the end of the four-day competition the winners will receive the trophy and medals.
School Sport Victoria delivers an extensive sport program to students across the state and supports more than 560,000 students take part in interschool sport each year.
The four teams representing Victoria at this competition are part of its ‘Team Vic’ state representative program which provides almost 1,000 opportunities to represent the state in 19 sports. The program has a record of creating future state, national, world and Olympic and Paralympic champions.
Since 2014, the state government has supported School Sport Victoria to deliver more than 80,000 interschool sports events for Victorian students.
Education Minister Ben Carroll said, “Participation in school sport provides fantastic opportunities for students to demonstrate leadership, resilience, and teamwork as well as form strong friendships.”