We are creating a list, Elaine’s List, of women who are looking to join a football Board or Committee.
If you are interested in being added to Elaine’s List, please complete the below expression of interest
Elaine Watson OAM is regarded as Australia's matriarch of women’s football. After providing coaching and refereeing for her children’s teams in Queensland during the early 1970s, Elaine joined the Brisbane Junior Soccer Association and was instrumental in helping to establish the Queensland Women’s Soccer Association in 1975, becoming the foundation president. As the team manager for the BJSA at the inaugural national competition in 1974, Elaine participated in the first meeting of State representatives that led to the formation of the Australian Women’s Soccer Association. Elaine was appointed as Vice President and remained in the position until 1977, when she was elected president of AWSA. She filled that position for the next seven years to 1984, and after a one-year break, she returned as President for a further four years from 1986. She continued in the Executive for an additional three years before retiring from AWSA responsibilities.
Throughout her AWSA leadership tenure of almost two decades, Elaine also served as the tour leader or manager of the national team on numerous overseas tours, including the first AWSA tour in 1978 to the World Invitational Tournament in Taiwan and the pilot FIFA World Cup in China, 1988 and worked with various national coaches at senior and youth levels. In addition, she helped secure federal government funding for appointing a full-time national executive director and opening a national office for the AWSA in Canberra. In this regard, Elaine instigated the professionalisation of women’s football administration in the mid-1980s. She was the first person to be awarded life membership of the AWSA (subsequently transferred to the Football Australia honours list) and received the Award of Merit from the Confederation of Sport in 1992.
Elaine was also a key advocate for forming the Oceania Women’s Football Confederation in 1982, having been appointed President of the Steering Committee and held various executive positions for the next decade. During this time, the OWFC convened four Oceania tournaments, including the World Cup qualification tournament in 1991. In addition, Elaine was part of the global push to get FIFA to convene a World Cup for women and have women’s football included in the Olympic Games. In 1993, Elaine’s long-standing commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for girls and women in the male-dominated sport of football was recognised in the Australian New Year’s Honours List when she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM). A fitting honour for a loyal and tenacious pioneer of the women’s game in Australia and Oceania. In 1994, Elaine released a publication on Australian Women’s Soccer – The First 20 Years. Often referred to as ‘Elaine’s Bible’ the publication is a personal account of Elaine’s experiences with women’s soccer over twenty years and records essential decisions made by the AWSA executive during those pioneering days.
To further recognise Elaine’s contributions as a leader, mentor and role model extending over 25 years, Women Onside has established Elaine’s List for those women who aspire to be managers, executive managers and leaders in the world game.