Sasha Grove is ready to play into a new era of football in Australia

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The increased interest in Australian football has the potential to elevate the sport over the next few years and young players such as Canberra United’s Sasha Grove are ready to play into the new changes.

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The Socceroos’ recent success making it out of the group stages of the World Cup not only showed how our skill is growing on the field, but also showcased the passion lurking within Australian sports fans.

With watch parties cramming into city squares in the early hours of the morning, never before have we had the opportunity to see the comradery that exists within the football community.

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Grove has recently been trading her playing boots for supporter gear as she watches along with the Men’s World Cup and is hoping that this support only builds as Australia moves to host the women’s event next year.

“It’s such a great time to be playing football, it’s going to be super exciting and the World Cup next year is going to be phenomenal,” she said.

The joint event with New Zealand will be the first time either country has hosted a FIFA World Cup and spectators will get the opportunity to see the action in person from nine different cities.

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A 17-year-old Grove knows the importance of being able to host such a professional event and that it extends further than just football.

“It’s great especially for younger players who haven’t had the exposure to international football here in Australia because you can’t be what you can’t see. So, it’s just going to be amazing. And it’s all about cultural connections as well doing a huge event like that. So, it’s going to be really, really, big,” she said.

In November, Grove witnessed first hand the cultural impact of football when she took part in the Pacific Four Nations Tournament with the Young Matildas.

The opportunity to play matches against and interact off field the senior teams of the Solomon Islands and Fiji, gave her the perfect blend of football and life experience.

“It was about bridging our connection with our Pacific counterparts, which is really eye opening, because we’re a new bunch of girls.

We also understand the importance of being global citizens and being aware of those around us and football is just such a great tool for us to connect with other people,” she said.

Having so many international teams coming to play in Australia creates the opportunity for a new group of people to be encouraged into playing the sport.

Grove’s experience in these cultural environments put her in a strong position to welcome in the future era of Australian football.

Feature image credit: Asian Football Confederation 

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Grace Buckmaster
Grace Buckmaster
Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Covering Canberra United for the 2022/23 season. Women's sport enthusiast.

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