Scholarship program goes from strength to strength

Five bright prospects have become the second recipients of the Football West Female Young Talented Player Scholarships.

Isabella Foletta, Liana Cook, Abbey Green, Isabella Wallhead and Hana Lowry (pictured alongside Glory midfielder Alyssa Mautz above) will train with the Glory squad throughout the Westfield W-League season as part of the program that was initiated last year.

Financial assistance will also be provided to cover kit and travel costs for the quintet who have been standout performers at both WA Women's Premier Division and international representative level.

The program has already produced impressive results in terms of propelling local youngsters into Glory's Westfield W-League first-team squad and club CEO Tony Pignata believes that it is an integral part of player development in WA.

“The women’s game is currently enjoying an unprecedented level of popularity and profile in this country, which is something Perth Glory is very proud to be at the forefront of," he said.

“A key component to the continuation of this growth and development is the establishment of a clear pathway for our best female players to fulfill their potential and this Scholarship program provides exactly that.

“Three of last year’s recipients, Isabella Foletta, Abbey Meakins and Lexie Moreno, have all now debuted in the Westfield W-League, as has another of this year's recipients, Liana Cook, thereby illustrating what a key stepping stone the program is.

“We are hopeful that these closer links will encourage State League players, coaches and supporters to attend our Westfield W-League games during what we are confident will be a successful and exciting season for our Glory Women.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Football West CEO James Curtis.

"The five players who have been rewarded with Football West Female Young Player Scholarships must be congratulated for their hard work," he said. "They have shown impressive dedication and this is a tremendous opportunity for them.

"It’s fantastic for Football West and Perth Glory to again work so closely on this important program and I thank Glory CEO Tony Pignata for helping give them this chance.

"Women's football is incredibly strong and it's getting stronger. Interest in the sport is at an all-time high across the country and here in WA, as was clearly highlighted when the Matildas came to Perth earlier this year.

"Hopefully FFA will be successful in bringing the Women's World Cup to Australia in 2023, a bid Football West is fully behind. And who knows, some of the current crop of NTC, Glory and Young Matildas players could be involved."

Glory Assistant and Football West NTC Coach Jessine Bonzas, meanwhile, has overseen much of the youngsters' development and feels that the scholarship program provides a unique opportunity for them.

"The girls get to train in a professional environment alongside their role models," she said.

"If you speak to them, they are just so excited to be here and they are relishing it.

"(The scholarship) is just unbelievably important, otherwise they just wouldn't get the chance to do that in this crucial stage of their development.

"It's particularly important for them to be training at the next level and being in a professional environment, where the expectation is higher and the demands are higher and they are having to adjust to playing at a higher intensity ... and using every moment to learn from their role models."

Following this weekend's international break, Glory's Westfield W-League campaign will resume on Saturday 17 November when Western Sydney Wanderers will be the visitors to Dorrien Gardens and you can grab your bargain W-League membership HERE.

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Picture courtesy of Football West