Female Football Spotlight: Cathy Ruggero

Female Football Spotlight: Cathy Ruggero

To celebrate International Women’s Day we are profiling inspiring females within our football community – meet Cathy Ruggero (pictured right), Hornsby Heights FC President!

Can you share a summary of your journey in football so far?

Having an Italian background, I was lucky enough to grow up in a football fanatic family. I had no choice but to watch Juventus in Serie A and Italy in every single world cup since the day I was born. My brother also played representative football for the KDSA, so we were always traveling and watching football.

I first played football in high school. When I left school, I played hockey, but after a few years I returned to play football. I played for Hornsby RSL who had four female teams back in early 2000, I then played for Hornsby Heights, Berowra and am now back playing for Hornsby Heights.  

Why did you decide to become HHFC Club President? Can you share a highlight you have experienced in the role?

I really wanted the club to be an important part of the community and to allow everyone to have the opportunity including players, coaches, and committee members to be a part of a great club regardless of the level of football they can play. I also wanted to make sure that the club remained at a level where everyone in the community has access and the ability to play football, regardless of their ability or socioeconomic status.

The highlight for me is being at Montview on a Saturday or Sunday morning enjoying a bacon and egg roll with a great tasting coffee and watching the great game of football. We can have 5 games going at once and this brings a great atmosphere to Montview Oval. You also get to meet a lot of inspiring people, some who play with a disability or are going through a tough time and football is an outlet for them.

How can we get more female leaders involved in the game? Why do you think this is important?

I think it’s important that we reach out to females in a way that relates to them. The more females we have volunteering, the more females that are involved, the more it will encourage others to join in, this will also show females that the game is not dominated by a certain group. When females do join its important for them to be in an environment where they feel welcomed and supported by everyone, not just other females.

Can you share what #ChooseToChallenge means to you?

To me the IWD Choose to Challenge campaign means raising awareness on the challenges that women experience each day all around the world. Although the attitudes are changing and the equality gap is narrowing, it is still not equal.

It’s refreshing to see so many more women involved in what were once male dominated roles and if we continue to celebrate their success and offer support and guidance on choices and opportunities, the gap will narrow further.  

What do you believe the impact of hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup will be for community football?

The excitement that is created from the women’s game is incredible, we have seen it grow over the years in previous Women’s World Cup’s. It is great to see countries like the USA forge ahead in women’s football but now its Australia’s turn to showcase what it can do. It is also a great opportunity for the Matilda’s to build a bigger fan base and hopefully win the World Cup on home soil.

For the local communities it will give females the opportunity to participate in football whether they play in a female only competition or in a mixed competition. It will grow the local competitions and in turn grow the game from the grassroots up. A win for the great game that is football.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

The #IWD2021 campaign theme is #ChooseToChallengeA challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

NSFA supports International Women’s Day and the #ChooseToChallenge campaign, and continues to support the growth of female football through our ‘What’s Best for Her’ strategy.

Female football in NSFA is proudly supported by Harvey Norman.

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