WITH female participation at Sale United Football Club continuing to grow, a number of new female-friendly change room facilities have been built at Godrey Baldwin Reserve.
The number of females involved at the club has skyrocketed in recent times, not only on the playing side, but also at committee level where currently nine of 15 members are women.
On the field, Sale United currently fields a strong women's senior team, has close to 30 junior players and more than a dozen girls participating in entry levels programs.
Sale United women's senior coach Maddi Brakespear said the new change rooms would be a welcome asset to the club.
"It is momentous for the club because now players and referees from across the shire who play football have places to get changed in first class facilities," she said.
"Previously, girls have had to get ready in cars, at home, single cubicle toilets, and even at the end of the game there's no showers, but now the girls have the best facilities for everyone to use on match day and trainings, making that sharing with the men's teams a little more comfortable.
"The standard of the new facilities is high and even matches what is on offer at the National Premier League in Melbourne, so it is pretty impressive."
The club celebrated with a huge soccer-themed cake, which was cut by club members, Wellington Shire mayor Alan Hall, and Eastern Victoria MLC Jane Garrett.
As well as the change rooms, Ms Garrett also announced new onpitch lighting would be installed at Baldwin Reserve.
"This is a huge reward for effort for the Sale United Football Club because it is opening up facilities to girls and woman who we know are taking up sport at a rate that didn't exist in previous times," she said.
"A lot of sporting clubs are remnants of another time when it was only boys who played so the female friendly change rooms are significant in terms of what it is going to mean for players and everyone involved at the club."
Brakespear said she was excited about the new facility in what would be a fitting addition as the club celebrated its 45th anniversary.
"We have so many opportunities for females at our club, in May we had female football week and next month we are going to be the only country region in Victoria to host a GoGirls World Cup Camp by Football Victoria," she said.
"I started playing at this club at the age of five and I am a proud Sale United member, today I coach the women's team and I'm looking forward to seeing the growth and development of female football in the Wellington Shire continue.
"We couldn't be happier of how inclusive we are as a club."