Lou would have loved to see the Lou Mazzaroli Cup 2019 because it was a friendly yet competitive, fun and harmonious sports event. Lou Mazzaroli epitomised community football. And she championed football, not just for women, but for women over 35 years of age. Queens Park Football Club can be proud of the role it played in enabling Lou to pursue her passion.
In 2004 the then club president of QPFC was Rick Flowers. He collaborated with Manny from St Spyridon now South East Eagles to set up the first over 35 women’s competition in the eastern suburbs. Together Rick and Manny approached mothers of junior players in their respective clubs. That year they recruited only enough players to form two teams. That was enough! They gained approval and support from ESFA to trial a competition.
The Queens Park and the South East Eagles teams were playing each other on a three-quarter pitch at Heffron Park every Sunday. One Sunday Lou came over after her AAW game and chatted with us. She played goalie for Heffron Hawks in the AAW comp but found the speed hard to keep up with. She was a skilled player in her mid-fifties. She loved the idea of Queens Park and St Spyridon starting a O35W comp and in no time joined us at QPFC. She loved the game so much she helped Maroubra United set up O35W teams.
Word spread! For the second season there were enough teams for ESFA to sanction a proper competition. Maccabi and Maroubra each recruited a team. Queens Park recruited two and likewise St Spyridon. It was in 2005 that Jaleh Shafie knocked on the front door of Rick’s home and asked how she could get involved. She is now a longstanding ESFA and QPFC Board member (not to mention football player).
Lou would always sign her emails with football is family. She participated in many ESFA Council meetings and she would turn up to the game even when she felt really crook in her final season. When ESFA made her a life member and announced to her that the tournament would be named after her – Lou Mazzaroli Cup – she wept for joy.
I think the next step in honouring her legacy is to revive the over 30 or over 35 women’s competition in the eastern suburbs. Sadly, this competition was abandoned just two years after she died. This was because a number of over 35 women players decided that they preferred to play in the All-Age competition. Of course, ESFA cannot dictate to players in what age group they should play. But more leadership needs to be shown by both, clubs and ESFA, to promote the idea that women over 30 will have a better football experience playing with other women over 30.
In the 2019 Lou Mazzaroli Cup 12 teams and over 100 women players over 30 years of age participated. Queens Park fielded two teams. We did not win but we participated and showed sportswomanship. Come on, let’s build on that to revive the over 30 or over 35 women’s competition!
Women of all ages, dust off your soccer boots and come down to trials!
QPFC Women’s Coordinator