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Matilda star, and proud Novocastrian, Emily van Egmond.

Matilda star, and proud Novocastrian, Emily van Egmond.

It's one of those things if you're a sports fan - you just put up with the random hours. And in the early hours of Friday morning, who really cared?

Australia and New Zealand were named as join hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

So what, says perhaps many of you who don't really care for sport. Well, think of the kids.

The most recent State of Play report, from April 2019, deliver a multilayered snapshot about football in Australia. It aims to "help identify trends and opportunities to maximise participation and engagement".

Which is great - but what does it even really mean? Reading the whole report is what you need to do, but in a nutshell, it says that lots of people love football. Or soccer or whatever you want to call it.

The annual population estimate for adults 15 years+ participating in football was 1,086,094.

Men and boys dominated those stats but the game is still one of the most participated in team sports by women in Australia. AusPlay estimates that 247,232 women played football when the data was collected between January 2016 to December 2018.

Drilling down there were more than 680,000 kids under the age of 15 involved.

There are stats galore in there, and if you're after even more, what about the market research that found Aussie sports fans have a stronger emotional connection with four of our national women's teams than any of their men's counterparts.

The T20 World Cup-winning Australian women's cricket team topped the tables there. They might just find they have increased competition from the Matildas.

Of course, it's not just about inspiring kids to get outside and move, there's an adult economic reality, too.

Regional cities and towns will take centre stage as the five-week competition rolls through the nation in 2023. You think the likes of Newcastle and Launceston aren't delighted? And that's before all the pre-competition training camps for 30 other nations are considered. No doubt local government authorities across Australia and NZ are in the throes of submission preparation right now.

We might think 2023 is a way away. But it could just be the post-COVID shot in the arm that excites and motivates a few people. And, surely, that can't be bad.

More stuff happening around Australia ...

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