Mulvey casts eye over talented group
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
AS part of the development of women's football since 1999, Mike Mulvey believes that women's football in this country is on the verge of achieving something that could top what the Socceroos have achieved over the past month.
"We've probably got more chance of winning a World Cup in women's football than the men have," the coach of the national under 17s girls team said.
"That's just because of the numbers and the depth of the women's game and we're in the top 15 all the time, the Socceroos are in the top 30 so it's always going to be more difficult for them to win a World Cup than it is for us."
In Coffs Harbour this week to run his eagle eye over the talent available at the National under-age titles, Mulvey admits that each year he's more and more impressed by the talent that is available.
"Without any question of doubt, it's improving," the 43 year-old said.
"Is it improving as quick as we would like it to? That's questionable. The reason I say that is that we're now in Asia."
"We've got to qualify against teams that have systematic set-ups like the Chinese, Japanese and the Koreans."
When he's not coaching the national team, Mulvey is involved with Queensland's National Training Centre (NTC) and admits that as part of the program, he sets a tough workload for the elite players that are chosen to be part of it.
"All my players train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday then have the weekend off," he said.
"If we don't do that then we'll fall behind in our development of technique, skill and physical attributes."
The Young Matildas (under 20s) are set to go to Russia for their World Cup in August and Mulvey believes that this creates another opportunity to create a groundswell of interest within the junior levels.
"The depth is definitely growing but what we need is more success now. The Socceroos have done well, we need the Young Matildas to go and do well, we need the senior Matildas who play in Adelaide next week to qualify for next year so it's always in the media," he explained.
"Sure we want to jump on the back of what's going on with the Socceroos but we also want to make our own momentum."
Local girl Jenna Tristram is part of the team chasing glory in Russia and as an integral part of youth development in this country over the past seven years, Mulvey says that Tristram has what it takes to be a huge success during the World Cup.
"Jenna's an exciting player and has come to the stage now of going to a World Cup and that's probably enough for most people in a lifetime," he added.
"She's got the ability and the capability to go on and play for the Matildas, so it's another stepping stone but what an opportunity, going to a World Cup, playing for a World Cup in Russia.
"The travel that they get to do, the opportunity to see the world.
"If you've got the talent, this game can take you places that you would never dream about and no other sport can take you but you've got to earn it.
"Jenna's earnt it and she's a good kid and she's going to be a definite threat in the World Cup."