The Southern United Blue Cockatoos are one of the over 170 football teams entered in the competition and will play in the 30+ women's division.
On October 10th the biggest football competition ever held in Australia will take place in Sydney as part of the 2009 World Masters Games. The Masters is the world's largest multi-sport event, open to all abilities as well as elite athletes, with competitors over 25 years of age.
The Blue Cockatoos team was formed from Como West-Jannali, North Sutherland, Georges River, Cronulla R.S.L. and Martin football clubs in the Sutherland Shire and players who would normally be on opposing teams now find themselves working together to try and win a medal at the Games. In the Blue Cockatoos ranks are players who competed in the final of the 2009 State Cup, with Sutherland Sharks playing experience, Champion of Champions finals experience and who have been part of various representative squads.
Included in the team are Melinda Allen, Carmen Beck, Hannah Burton, Fiona Forster, Jenny Grinham, Veronica Jordan, Rachel Jospe, Debbie Kemp, Alisa Moore, Jenny Nunn, Tracy O'Riordan, Melissa Wiggins, Claudia Woodley and Melinda Yates. Coaches Rob Grinham and Belinda Barter have been training the team and preparing them for the Games.
Support has been offered to this newly formed team from the Sutherland Shire Football Association with Bob Rivett allowing it the use of their community's representative training facilities including quality playing fields. Also Don Truman, owner of the Shire business blue Cockatoo Sportswear at www.bluecockatoosport.com.au, has given the team their playing strip, jackets, polo shirts and bags saying, "It's wonderful to see a local team in an international event." This kind of support shows that within the Shire a tremendous community spirit exists that seeks to encourage and promote football as a sport.
The Masters Games are held every four years and have previously been held in Canada, Denmark, the U.S.A. and Australia, on other occasions, and have funding and organisational help from the International Olympic Committee. After the Opening Ceremony, featuring entertainment including singer Jessica Mauboy and fireworks, at ANZ Stadium the 28 sports will begin with football proving to be one of the most popular. With women's football being the fastest growing sport in the world, according to FIFA, the competition amongst the 25 teams in the women's 30+ division should be intense and the Blue Cockatoos will be faced with some skilful opponents as they strive to earn a medal.