Empowering Diversity and Inclusion in Grassroots Football: A Trailblazer's Journey

Meet Laura Noble, a dynamic force driving change in grassroots football. In her professional life she works as the People and Culture Manager for Just Better Care, but she is also a devoted volunteer for Football Mid North Coast and is a vital member of Women Onside in her role as their Membership and Communications Coordinator.

Laura's journey into the world of football started with the seemingly simple role of a "soccer mum". It was this role that ignited her passion for the sport and the realisation that grassroots football relied heavily on the dedication of volunteers. Inspired by the need for more female leadership, she took the reins and embarked on a journey that would change her involvement in the sport. 

It was her commitment to the game and her love of the sport that, in 2022, saw her being recruited as Women Onside's first-ever employee.

“My role with Women Onside is as their Membership and Communications Coordinator, where I work to facilitate member engagement through effective communication and delivering exceptional service to members. I first came across Women Onside while seeking football governance training as a Club President, and their ‘Getting Onboard Masterclass’ provided me with the support and guidance I needed to climb the football leadership ladder and nominate as a Zone director.

“Thanks to their professional development opportunities and help, I've been able to take on leadership roles within the sport. Women Onside has been a game-changer for me, and I'm honoured to work alongside so many trailblazers who provide a voice for women in football.” 

The Impact on Grassroots Football

Women Onside has created a platform for Women to share experiences, strategies, and wisdom, fostering a vibrent and inclusive community for grassroots football. Laura highlights that this support system has made her journey smoother, enabling her to tackle challenges head-on and advocate for women's rights effectively. With Women Onside leading the charge, the landscape of grassroots football is changing, becoming more diverse and welcoming for everyone.

The Women's World Cup

Laura says it's impossible to deny the shift has occurred in Australia since the Women's World Cup. 

“Football, specifically women's football, has taken hold of the hearts and minds of the country. This is evident in the increase in viewership, game attendance, merchandise sales, and the rise of trending social media accounts. For those who have dedicated their lives to developing women's football, this must be an incredibly heart-warming moment.

Women Onside, in particular, has been instrumental in paving the way for this success. Locally, the effects of the Matildas' success are evident in school "green and gold" days, pop-up live sites, sell-out merchandise, and numerous news stories highlighting the team's impact on young people. Even my other employer, Just Better Care, proudly turned green and gold in support. What's even more exciting is that most of my teenage son's friends can name all the Matildas but not a single Socceroo player - sorry, fellas! The World Cup has shone a light on football in Australia, and I can't wait to see the legacy it will leave.”

This web story is by the NSW Government under the NSW Football Legacy Program.