Cathy Doumos was nominated by Belconnen United for Female Football Week to highlight her service to the club and what she puts forward through her Women’s National Premier League managerial and club volunteering roles.
Cathy and her husband have always helped with their kids’ sport over the years. Two of their girls played football with the Blue Devils whilst their other daughter played netball resulting in a focus being on several sports.
After their daughter stopped playing netball, Cathy was able to shift her focus purely to football and this is where she excelled in club positions.
“Mostly it’s been managing the teams, especially when Kanga Cup comes around, I help out a lot because I can find the time off for the holidays,” Cathy said. “Over the years, I have been helping in the canteen, so I do bits and pieces. I am there for my daughters anyway so it’s great to give back to a club with such great culture.”
Cathy is overjoyed to see girls, like her own, that began playing soccer at a young age and then go into First Grade or begin working their way up. She sees great mentors in the older women that nurture, teach and encourage development in the younger girls.
Cathy would like to see more women in board positions at Belconnen United but believes it can be a challenge to work this aspect into the lives of women that already have such fast-paced lifestyles.
“Within the club itself, we don’t have a great number of women on the board, but we have some great men on the board being a voice for the women,” she said.
“It would be great to see more women there, but I think it’s such a balancing act time-wise when you’ve got young kids at home and sort of balancing work, sport, home-life and then throwing in an extra thing of being on a board can be challenging.
“It would be great to see more women in those coaching roles. We’ve got some fantastic coaches for the women’s program at Belconnen, but it would be good to see those women that were previously great players return, after having families, as coaches when able.”
Cathy believes there has been noticeable improvement in women’s football throughout the years including equal pay at national level. At the community level though, especially for younger players, as they are usually combined as a focus is placed on participation.
“When you reach a certain age, they split into their respective competitions due to obvious physical differences. We see more of a difference between the two when you reach the competition levels like the National Premier League, where it would be good to see more equality when it comes to resources,” Cathy said.
She is passionate about seeing a stronger and fairer competition across the NPL and seeing a further development at higher levels to ensure young women stay in the game.
“Canberra’s tricky, because we are small,” she admitted. “The pool isn’t as big to pull from compared to say, New South Wales. It would be great to see a stronger competition and this year in the NPLW, it is a stronger competition because there has been movement throughout the club.
“Nationally, it would be great to see more development for women’s football so that players remain associated with the club and can mentor youth as they come through.”
Along with national stars like Sam Kerr, there are great role models at Belconnen United and Cathy hopes that this community can grow for a bright future for women’s football.
Words: Sonia Emanuel