Football in Canberra continues to grow year on year with new and exciting ventures supported by Capital Football, the governing body of the sport in the Territory. The backbone of the sport in the city is the local league competitions men and women, boys and girls with the senior men’s league comprising of four elite level Premier Divisions, ten State League Divisions and four Masters competitions. The Women's League can boast three levels of Premier League football along with four state league divisions and a masters competition. At junior level we are proud to host 52 leagues from under-10 through to under-18 with many more juniors playing small-sided football from under-5 to under-10. There’s are also thriving summer competitions plus five-a-side Futsal playing a major part on the calendar.
On a larger scale Canberra is the host venue for the FFA National Junior Championships at under-13 level for both boy’s and girl’s as well as the FFA National Futsal Championships which attracts 120 teams from under-11 to under-19 with Open men’s and women’s titles completing the mammoth competition. Added to this is the annual McDonald’s Kanga Cup, the biggest and most prestigious international youth football competition in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2010 224 teams entered the week-long tournament held at venues throughout Canberra attracting teams from as far afield as South Korea and New Zealand as well as local representatives from all Australian states and territories, with the exception of Northern Territory.
At the professional level teams continue to use Canberra for matches and training with Hyundai A-League team Central Coast Mariners regular visitors and Sydney FC also playing pre-season matches in the capital. At international level, in the past twelve-months alone, Canberra has hosted the Matildas, the under-16 boy’s AFC Championship qualifying matches, as well as the Socceroo’s Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait. And of course the Capital is the proud home of Canberra United who plays their matches in the Westfield W-League, the national Women’s competition reaching the Grand Final and the semi-finals in their first two years after formation. Canberra is also home to a burgeoning refereeing community with several match officials making the step up to the top level alongside international player representation.
With the Socceroo’s qualifying for their third World Cup in 2010 there was even more interest in the game in following seasons as the number of participants flourished. It’s a long way from the inauspicious first match played 100 years ago to the multi-level sport played across both genders today. There will be challenges ahead but the pioneers of football in Canberra can rest assured they’ll be met head on.