The Central Coast Mariners are pleased to announce the first signing for our A-League Women’s side, with the team officially set to enter the Liberty A-League Women’s competition for the 2023/24 season. 

Local forward Annalise Rasmussen, a long-time women’s academy member, has become the first signing for the club heading into the side’s first season. 

Her progression into the Liberty A-League Women’s side symbolises the opportunity that will now be available for youth players on the Coast. Females in the region will have a direct pathway from academy prospects to Liberty A-League Women’s players, and eventually National team stars. 

Rasmussen’s deal comes off the back of a big week for the Mariners Liberty A-League Women’s side. Football Australia’s Board has officially approved the licence, meaning that the team will enter the league for the 2023/24 season. 

Football Australia’s CEO, James Johnson said: 

“Football Australia is excited to see a team from the Central Coast return to participate at the national level in the Liberty A-League Women competition.”

“As we look ahead to the CommBank Matildas playing against Thailand in November and the FIFA Women’s World Cup™️ in 2023, this is a once in a generation opportunity to supercharge women’s football in Australia. A Mariners team for a well-supported Central Coast region will demonstrate to young women and girls what dreams are possible and provide a platform into our national teams.” 

The side will also be playing every match at the home of the Mariners, Central Coast Stadium. This is in line with an upcoming agreement with Venues Live.  

Following years of success with the club’s female academy, the Mariners inclusion in the Liberty A-League Women’s competition now marks a move to provide female footballers with an opportunity to become CommBank Matildas while still staying on the Central Coast.

Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp is pleased to finally see the Mariners football ecosystem completed, after what has been a long road to have an A-League women’s side enter the competition.

“This means a lot to not only the Central Coast Mariners, not only young footballers on the Coast, but all female athletes to show that there is professional careers and pathways that can be had. It is so exciting to get to this point finally,” he said. 

“Every young footballer on the Central Coast can now see a pathway from grassroots all the way through to the national teams without having to leave the Coast. 

“It’s tremendously amazing to have another team of community ambassadors to inspire the next generation. It is so special and a big part of what this club means.”

Mielekamp is also excited by the prospect of the women’s side playing their home matches at Central Coast Stadium, which has seen renovations completed to make it an optimal ground for female football. 

“Playing at Central Coast Stadium was integral to everything that we as a club are passionate about. That is what we do for the boys, we produce Socceroos, and now our task is to produce Matildas,” he said. 

“We can only do that if we give them the same opportunities, our facilities and expertise are there, so to be playing at Central Coast Stadium, which we deem as the best stadium in Australia for female professional football, was an absolute must. 

“Designated change rooms that have been put in just for this moment, an unbelievable surface with stunning views. Our club and this stadium have got things that other clubs just can’t buy.”

Following Football Australia’s official approval, A-Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke said:

“There has never been a more exciting time for women’s football in Australia with the expanded and extended Liberty A-League Women, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand™ taking place nine months from now. 

“We have accelerated our investment to ensure a legacy for women and girls playing and supporting football in Australia and are delighted to see Central Coast become our 12th team in the Liberty A-League Women.”

The Mariners are also debuting the Julie Dolan scholarship, which was awarded to Ava Carlson to support her in her academic journey.