New female facilities for soccer club

Club sponsor Lino Bisinella, Cr Sarah Hathway, Mayor Trent Sullivan, club president Rose Pirrottina, Lara MP Ella George, Deputy Mayor Anthony Aitken and Cr Eddy Kontelj with Bell Park sports club players, members and supporters. (Supplied)

Matt Hewson

Bell Park Sports Club celebrated the official opening of new female-friendly facilities last weekend.

The $1.95 upgrade of the club’s Batesford facilities feature modern change rooms for women and girls, change facilities for officials, a first aid room and storage spaces.

Funded by $1.7 million from the City of Greater Geelong and a state government contribution of $250,000, the upgrades come at a time when female participation at the club is booming, according to Bell Park president Rose Pirrottina.

“Our female numbers for football, soccer, have gone through the roof this year; pre-COVID sort of numbers, which is amazing,” Ms Pirrottina said.

“It’s becoming a sport that females are really loving, and participation is increasing year by year. (These facilities) mean that female participation can continue to increase.

“We had women six, seven years ago, changing in cars. We’re providing a much safer, inclusive environment for our community now.”

Ms Pirrottina said the Matilda’s 2023 World Cup run, culminating in a semi finals appearance, had provided an inspiring picture of “what football should look like”.

“It gave everybody a benchmark, it increased the level of passion and the desire to be in the sport and to improve the skills that we’ve got,” she said.

“It was definitely a thing of, ‘I want to be that’.”

Deputy Mayor Anthony Aitken said Bell Park Sports Club were leaders in women’s and girls’ soccer at the local level.

“The saying goes that good things come to those who wait, and that could not be truer for the Bell Park Sports Club,” Cr Aitken said.

“The club has waited a long time for these female friendly upgrades and is now set up for a very bright future.”