Women Onside warmly congratulates our board member and founding chair, Maria Berry AM, on being honoured in the King’s Birthday Honours List. Maria was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to sport.
Maria is a long-time football participant, as a player, coach, administrator and fan, since beginning as a player in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne in 1979.
During her lengthy career in football, Maria has served as a director of the former Victorian Soccer Federation, Victorian Women’s Soccer Association and Women’s Soccer Australia. Her four decades of contribution to football were previously recognised in 2021 when Maria was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.
Maria has a long history coaching women and girls football teams and is a life member at Melbourne University Soccer Club. She served as team manager and head of delegation for several Matildas and Young Matildas tours, and was the liaison manager for the gold-medal winning Norwegian team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Maria was the foundation chair of Women Onside from 2019 to 2021. She remains on the board.
Kerry Harris, Women Onside Chair, said:
“We are delighted to have Maria’s outstanding contribution to the women’s game recognised in this way. As our founding chair, and having held countless roles in women’s football over four decades, Maria has made an enormous contribution to the sport in Australia.
“On the eve of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, to be held for the first time on home soil, the timing of this recognition is apt. Women’s football in Australia stands on the shoulders of trailblazers, including Maria, who toiled tirelessly to get the sport to where it is today.”
In response to her honour, Maria said:
"I am so appreciative and delighted to have received this wonderful honour. It is an absolute highlight for myself and, hopefully, a boost of recognition for the sports and other organisations I have served and still serve. In this service have had the pleasure of working with so many fine people over so many years in so many different roles. I am grateful for their support and the fun along the way. Thank you all so much. Special thanks to my family Jacki, Joe and Lucy, who have been such an important part of enabling me to spend so much time and energy on my passions and have been dragged into them as well.
And be assured - my work will continue – there is still so much to be done to support important causes in sports. Integrity, democracy, inclusion and good governance in sports – especially football – are my special passion. In particular, I love that there are some outstanding young women rising into leadership roles in football, whether coaching, administration or officiating. I am excited to see them grow, and I hope I can help some of them on their leadership journeys.
And in the meantime, I plan to enjoy my sixth FIFA Women’s World Cup here on home soil. I hope you all have tickets too."