Sydney FC players celebrate ALW grand final success.
Sydney FC celebrate after winning the 2024 A-League Women grand final. Image by Daniel Pockett/AAP PHOTOS
  • soccer

Show us the money: Sydney FC stars urge ALW to invest

Anna Harrington May 5, 2024

The A-League Women has not done enough to capitalise on the Women’s World Cup and needs more investment to keep top players in the league, Sydney FC star Cortnee Vine says.

As a Matildas player, Vine is one of few full-time professionals in the elite domestic competition, with most juggling football careers alongside work and study.

The 26-year-old winger hailed the improved crowds post-Women’s World Cup, but said: “We could have done heaps more – more investment, more professionalism”.

Matildas celebrate the World Cup.
 The ALW has failed to cash in on the success of 2023’s World Cup, Cortnee Vine says. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS 

“There’s coaches that are still not full-time. We’re not technically full-time,” Vine said after Sydney FC’s 1-0 grand final win over Melbourne City on Saturday.

“I’m in a different boat to the other girls, I’m Matildas as well. 

“Financially, I’m in a different position. But the other girls, they’re part-time still.

“There’s still a (long way) to go with that. More investment needs to happen. More professionalism. 

“It will grow, but post-World Cup was the perfect time for people to (say), ‘I’m going to invest in women’s football and see where we go’. 

“I’m hoping for that over the next few years.”

The Matildas’ penalty shootout hero at the World Cup, Vine said her profile had helped attract attention to the ALW.

“But to get players with big profiles to come, more investment needs to come,” she said.

“The girls aren’t going to come for less money than what they’re on overseas.”

Cortnee Vine.
 Vine in action for Sydney FC during the 2024 ALW grand final. Image by Daniel Pockett/AAP PHOTOS 

Vine pointed out how her fellow Matildas’ opportunities in competitions such as England’s Women’s Super League (WSL) and the US National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) made staying in Australia unfeasible for many.

“We’re competing now with the WSL, the NWSL. (The US) have a new league coming in the (United Soccer League),” Vine said. 

“We’re now competing with three big leagues because we’ve gone from a 12-week competition to (26 weeks, including finals). 

“We are fighting against them to get players to come here. 

“Sam (Kerr), Alanna (Kennedy), everyone that is over in the WSL – they’re getting paid great money, they’re professional. It’s what everyone wants. 

“No one’s going to come (to Australia) unless that’s what it is.  Nothing happens until we invest more.”

Player of the match Mackenzie Hawkesby urged the league to work harder to ensure top players stuck around, while Sydney FC coach Ante Juric called for more investment from the Australian Professional Leagues and governments.

Mackenzie Hawkesby urged the ALW to work harder to retain top players.
 Mackenzie Hawkesby urged the ALW to work harder to retain top players. Image by Daniel Pockett/AAP PHOTOS 

Midfielder Shay Hollman, 18, is reminded every day of the disparity between the men’s competition and the women’s.

Her older brothers Jake and Corey play for Macarthur and Sydney respectively.

“The main thing would be pay, 100 per cent. They’re full-time, we’re part-time,” Hollman said.

“But it’s also the standards, the staff, the facilities, everything. 

“The goal is for that to improve so we can get on a balance with them. The game would grow from there.”