Newcastle Jets co-captain Cassidy Davis believes hosting the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup can prove the catalyst the W-League needs to move towards full-time professionalism.
Australia and New Zealand were announced on Friday as co-hosts for the next World Cup and Newcastle is set to benefit directly with up to four matches being played at McDonald Jones Stadium.
It is also an opportunity for the national women's league to grow after remaining largely unchanged since its inception in 2008.
"Everyone's going to be talking about having a World Cup in Australia for the next few years, so I think that will put the women's game in the spotlight and especially the W-League being the Australian league," Davis told the Newcastle Herald.
"Exposure is a big thing for the W-League. We need that. We need people to be talking about the W-League. We need more sponsors to want to play a part in the W-League. We need more media coverage. We need all of those things that are going to help boost our competition.
"The more investment into the W-League, the more it can grow. The W-League is a pathway for the Matildas, so that leads on to having better players and producing those players for the World Cup."
While there have been advances in W-League pay in recent years with the introduction of a minimum wage, $16,344 last season, the competition structure has not changed. The season is roughly five months. There are nine teams, who each play only 12 matches in the regular season.
"This year is a bit of a write-off with everything that is going on but hopefully the season after we can have a full home-and-away league and maybe an extra team in there as well," Davis said.
"I'd like to see a Wellington team come in. I think that would create a buzz to the league, which we do need. We need something that's going to spark it again and get people in. I'd like to think before the World Cup we can get to that full home and away.
"We've got a few years to build on what will be the best thing that has happened for women's football in Australia. It's super exciting and we need to make sure we keep building, not only the W-League but even the leagues beneath it because that's where you start."
While nothing has been confirmed, there has been talk the 2020-21 W-League could start in December and a move to winter has also been floated.
Davis said that would only be possible if the league moved to full-time professionalism. Most players earn extra income by playing overseas or in National Premier Leagues during the Australian winter.
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