Matildas assistant coach Melissa Adreatta advocates for longer W-League season

Matildas assistant coach, Melissa Andreatta, believes the W-League should have a longer season. Picture: Football Federation Australia
Matildas assistant coach, Melissa Andreatta, believes the W-League should have a longer season. Picture: Football Federation Australia

Matildas assistant coach Melissa Andreatta has renewed calls for an extended W-League season as one measure to take Australian women's football to the next level.

It comes in wake of Monday's release of the 2020-21 W-League draw, with each club to play only 12 regular-round matches again this season.

Calls for a full home and away season have long fallen on deaf ears, even though it would only add four weeks to the W-League calendar.

The USA's National Women's Soccer League and European competitions have up to 30 matches per team, while the W-League clubs play over a 14-round season.

Andreatta, who formerly coached the Brisbane Roar, echoed Socceroos counterpart Graham Arnold in saying Australian footballers need more matches at the elite level.

She also suggested an increase of NPLW matches and introduction of a women's FFA Cup, the latter of which is part of Football Australia's 15-year vision for the game.

"I'll say the same thing as Arnie because I believe it wholeheartedly, we need more games," Andreatta said.

"I said it in my time as a W-League coach, on a personal level I couldn't advocate for that more. A longer season for these players to compete in, in a high-performance environment is the way forward.

"While our local players play in the NPLW, I think there could be more games there as well.

"I'd love to see a women's FA Cup. We saw Melbourne Victory last year in the AFC women's club championship. We need more of that, we can do it. It's how we do it and how we get there. Those experiences in a high-performance environment year round is what's going to take us to the next level."

Andreatta led an FFA talent identification camp in Canberra last week, an initiative designed to help usher in the next generation of Matildas.

With incoming Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson under contract with Swedish club Hammarby IF until the end of this month, Andreatta, Rae Dower and Leah Blayney have overseen the national programme.

His first assignment as head coach will be scouring the W-League for future Matildas stars.

"We'll be watching it, all our staff very closely," Andreatta said.

"Together with Tony joining us in early January, the eyes on the game and league will be there. We see all of the players. We're looking forward to looking at those who can play the game at a high speed, control the speed of the game and, of course, stop teams from playing too quickly."

This story Andreatta advocates for longer W-League season first appeared on The Canberra Times.