Westfield W-League Future Direction Conference

The Westfield W-League took another important step this week with a conference of key stakeholders discussing the league’s future direction, with Mike Golub from Portland Timbers/Thorns as the conference's guest speaker.

With women’s football booming in Australia, Thursday's conference was an important step in the league’s development.

Westfield W-League CEO, managers, coaches and Westfield Matildas were part of the conference as well as FFA CEO David Gallop and Head of Hyundai A-League and the Westfield W-League, Greg O’Rourke 

“This workshop was very different to ones that have been held in previous years. Rather than hold a purely operational workshop we decided to focus on the long term future of the women’s game,” said O’Rourke.

“This is particularly relevant at the moment given the competitive landscape and what the other codes are doing in women’s sport however for us it’s about what we want to do as a code to continue to lead the way.”

“This will be the ninth season of the Westfield W-League and with nearly 25 per cent of all football participants in Australia being female, we need to continue growing the game and refocus on what we’re doing in this area.”

The conference will inform the work FFA will do in the future and the direction of the league in this current four-year strategic cycle, with resolutions discussed within the FFA/PFA working group.

The conference was supported by FIFA, and special guest for the day was Mike Golub, President of Business at Portland Timbers/Thorns.

The well-respected Golub presented a case study on how this club aligned their men’s and women’s teams. He joined the Timbers in 2009 and helped lead the organisation during its highly successful launch into the MLS. 

Golub – who oversees all business functions for the Timbers, Portland Thorns FC and Portland Timbers 2 (T2) – is a two-time recipient of the Doug Hamilton MLS Executive of the Year (2011, 2013).

“Through the assistance of FIFA we were able to bring Mike from the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns over here to show us what they have been doing in the past 5-10 years in the American football leagues to produce positive results for the game, gender equality, the community and an ability to deliver this commercially," added O'Rourke. 

“Time was also spent with current and former Matildas, W-League coaches, CEOs and other stakeholders who are intimately involved in that side of our game to talk about where we are now and where we are going. 

"It was a terrific day and the feedback from everyone was that it was really worthwhile, refreshing and provided a genuine feeling of confidence about the future of women’s football.”