THE grounds of Ballarat Grammar have turned pink with thousands of players, their families and coaches coming together this weekend in celebration of girls' soccer.
The Total Girl Soccer Tournament, being played Saturday and Sunday, has brought teams from all over Victoria to Ballarat to participate in the largest all-female soccer tournament in the Southern Hemisphere.
Featuring pink balls and goal nets, the seven-a-side round robin format caters for every age group from under-10s to under-16s, with schools and clubs entering the bulk of the teams.
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While teams battled it out on the pitches on Saturday, players also had the chance to meet their idols with Matildas' members Melissa Barbieri and Elise Kellond Knight wandering through the crowd signing autographs and posing for photographs.
Barbieri, the Matildas' captain, wanted the players to know the sky was the limit when it came to pursuing their dreams.
"I wanted them to know you can play for Australia or you can go to the Olympic Games. It's just how far you want to take it," she said.
Barbieri also said Total Girl Soccer showed the sport was growing.
"It just shows the scope for women's football out there," she said.
"I had nothing like this growing up.
"I was told I wasn't allowed to play football because I was a girl."
Ballarat Grammar under-10s coach Jessica Taylor said her girls had been practicing every Friday lunchtime since February for the tournament.
"The girls are just buzzing all day," she said.
Federal Minister for Sport Kate Lundy attended the tournament to launch the inaugural Women's Football Week.
She said the goal of the week was to inspire more women to participate in community football.
Football Federation Victoria (FFV) CEO Mark Rendell said the event was a highlight of the girls' football calender every year.
Coinciding with the tournament will be the opening round of the Women's Premier League season at Morshead Park tomorrow.
"Emerging Athletes Program" Country Reserves take on last season's minor premier Sandringham at 4pm.
"It's the first time we've taken the Women's Premier League launch event to Ballarat," Rendell said.
16A Sandringham; 16B SJSA; 16C Sunbury United; 15A Sandringham; 15B Banyule; 14A North City Lions; 14B Bell Park; 14C Mt Beauty; 13A Brighton Divas; 13B Watsonia Heights: 13C DCO United; 12 Sandringham; 11-12 Sandringham Devils; 11 Kensington.