It’s a familiar sight at most suburban grounds in Australia; a volunteer getting the nets, corner flags and barbeque ready for the day’s action.
At Kotara South Football Club Catherine Burman is one such volunteer.
From Girls’ Liaison Officer, to social media guru, duty officer, groundswoman, and griller of the perfect snags, the Executive member absorbs many roles every football season.
“I love the game. I love that we are an inclusive sport with great role models,” explained Burman of her dedication.
“I think football a great leveller, and I love watching and seeing the kids enjoy themselves.”
Football has been a part of Burman’s life since first kicking the ball as an 11-year-old. In the decades since, she has not only passed on her love to her children, but now to a new generation of kids taking up the game.
Kotara South has been a leading club in women’s football, as one of the original clubs facilitating the first girls-only competition in Newcastle. However, it is not just the kids that Burman is looking to pull into the game.
Recently she has worked on enticing women and older teens to begin playing for the first time. The work undertaken by Burman and Kotara’s Executive Committee is part of their goal of building a Limitless future for girls and women in Northern NSW football.
“The girls and women are loving it!” she exclaimed of the response.
I’ve seen many mums with girls who play, and who have never played sport themselves growing up, taking to football and really, really loving it. So much so that they then convince other mums to come and join in as well.”
At the core of Catherine Burman’s commitment is a deep affection for Australian football and the Matildas, both which compelled her to become a Community Bid Champion.
“I want to watch Australia become a leading force in shaping women's sport,” she said.
“With a FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia we really have an opportunity to continue to inspire the next generation of Matildas stars.”
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Burman has seen firsthand the importance of accessibility of the W-League and Matildas players to growing the game and working towards 50/50 gender participation.
“This year, Kotara has two U12 and two U16 girls’ teams which, for us, has never happened before,” she observed.
“Given that this is the age that we often find a drop off of girls in sport, I find this really encouraging, and points to the fact that football really is an accessible, accepting sport!”
It also shows you what excellent role models our Matildas are as well, providing girls with the visibility that it could be them one day.”
"How awesome would it be for women's football to experience a home Women’s World Cup, and for all the girls and boys around Australia to be inspired to continue their football journeys.”