UOW students crowned national university football champions

UniSport win sets up qualification for University World Cup 2019 in China

The University of Wollongong men’s football team will take on world’s best in China in 2019 after being crowned national champions this week (27 September).

UOW downed La Trobe 2 - 1 in a match that went to extra time at the UniSport Nationals Div 1 gold medal match on the Gold Coast.

UOW scored early in the first half and La Trobe equalised close the full-time whistle, sending the match into extra time. UOW left it late, scoring the winner in the final minute of extra time.

The 2018 UniSport Nationals Div 1 unites thousands of university student-athletes from 43 universities, many of whom are of national-standard, to compete in 34 sports across Queensland’s Gold Coast.

The win sets up an exciting opportunity to be the sole team representing Oceania at the inaugural International University Sports Federation (FISU) University World Cup – Football in November 2019.

Held in Jinjiang, China, the FISU University World Cup – Football will feature 16 male and eight female universities who qualify from FISU competitions in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, and Oceania.

Team captain Chris Twig, a Bachelor of Arts (Science and Technology Studies) student, said: “This is our first gold medal, we’ve won other medals in the past but not gold.

“We knew we were up against good teams and coming into the tournament we hoped to win a medal. At the start of the week we set out what our goals were, put in the hard work and results went our way."

UOW topped their pool of four teams with a win and two draws, including a hard-fought 3-3 draw over local rivals UNSW.

Direct qualification for the semi-final set up a rematch with University of Melbourne, who UOW dispatched 2 - 0 to progress to the gold medal match against last year’s champions La Trobe University.

“La Trobe have a few players who are with National Premier League [Victoria} clubs so we knew it’d be a tough game,” Twig said.

The UOW team features several players from National Premier League NSW club Wollongong Wolves, as well as players from the Sutherland area.

All are students at UOW, with a broad spread of degrees from business to medicine and science.

FISU Oceania President Martin Doulton said it is an exciting opportunity for the best university teams to represent their university and FISU Oceania at the FISU University World Cup – Football.

“The university teams representing FISU Oceania will have an unprecedented opportunity to showcase their universities on the world stage, and link campus-based sport participation to the high performance sport pathway.”

UOW is set to be a hotbed of football talent after it recently entered into a partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club to run a Player Development Program at UOW’s Wollongong campus from January 2020.

This Global Football Development Program partnership with one of the world’s leading universities will see two FA & UEFA qualified Tottenham Hotspur coaches train participating UOW students for 36 weeks a year over a period of five years.

Martin Laird Award

UOW student Mandy Lin was awarded the Martin Laird Award for Achievement at the UniSport Nationals. The annual award recognises the ongoing efforts and contribution of an Australian University Ultimate player.

Mandy was captain of the 2018 UOW UniSport Nationals team until an unfortunate accident a week before the event, resulting in a broken collar bone, meant that she had to miss the games.

Team mate Erin Healy said the honour was well-deserved.

"Mandy is the life of our club and puts in an amazing amount of work behind the scenes to ensure that our club reaches its potential, and in the last year since she has been president of the club, we have seen a great influx of new and retained players," Erin said.

"She is an asset on the field, cutting with proficiency and managing to always be free in the right spots, with safe hands and impressive throws. She currently leads our pulling roster and has in depth knowledge of the rules and of spirit of the game, which she fosters within our club."

Other UOW medallists

Alongside the men's football team, a number of other UOW athletes also achieved memorable results at the UniSport Nationals. Josh Ward won a taekwondo gold medal; Angela Ya Jing Zhang won a taekwondo silver medal; Connor Dymond won silver in the men's 100m hurdles; Harry Brierley won silver in the men's high jump; and the UOW surfers were awarded the silver medal in the surfing team event.

About UniSport Australia

With origins from 1921 and a vision of "healthy, active, engaged and well-rounded university students", UniSport Australia is the nation’s peak body for university sport and is comprised of 43 higher education members, who represent more than one million students. Living by values of servant leadership, student experience, continuous improvement, collaboration, advocacy, and integrity, UniSport Australia delivers sport programs, elite athlete pathways, research and advocacy, education, and university sport sector capacity building.

With funding from Government grants, corporate support, membership fees and event registrations, key relationships include Sport Australia, Universities Australia, the Australian Olympic Committee, Commonwealth Games Australia, the International University Sports Federation (FISU), and the International Olympic Committee


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  • The University of Wollongong men’s football team will take on world’s best in China in 2019 after being crowned national champions this week (27 September).