‘Beyond Greatness Champions’ unveiled by FIFA to promote Women’s World Cup

Legendary Football Fern Maia Jackman, Winter Olympian Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and business leader Dame Therese Walsh are the first New Zealanders to be revealed as members of FIFA’s ‘Beyond Greatness Champions’.

FIFA have launched the ‘Beyond Greatness’ programme to support and promote the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 across Australia and New Zealand.

Tournament organisers say the Beyond Greatness Champions are a group of inspirational trailblazers who represent the best of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand across sport, entertainment, media, arts, politics and business.

Jackman, Sadowski-Synnott and Dame Therese are the first New Zealanders to be named as ‘Beyond Greatness Champions’.

Maia Jackman.
Zoi Sadowski-Synnott.
Dame Therese Walsh.

Announcing the programme, FIFA said:

“They will use their passion for women’s sport, inclusivity and unity to build anticipation for the tournament through their social channels, representing FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 at key milestones and events, and sharing the excitement within their industries and networks.

“They are a team who are united by their achievements and commitment for change, history makers who exemplify what it means to go Beyond Greatness.”

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 COO Aotearoa New Zealand Jane Patterson says history is all about firsts and inspiring the next generation.

“We’ve called upon inspirational Australians and New Zealanders who represent our host nations’ diverse communities, who share values with our event, and who have achieved their own moments of greatness to help us engage with our communities and promote the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.”

Beyond Greatness Champions

Maia Jackman is a FIFA Legend and former Football Ferns’ captain, with a career in the New Zealand national team spanning 1993-2012.

She played in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and in the same year was selected for the FIFA All Star World XI. She was also awarded the Order of Merit MNZM for services to football in 2013. Jackman is passionate about women’s development in football and hopes she can show aspiring young footballers there is a pathway to greatness in the sport.

Jackman: ‘I’m really excited …’

“Football is such a passion of mine, building our next generation is so important and I wanted to be a part of that,” she said.

“My hope is that the Beyond Greatness Champions can also help inspire all types of people to come and watch this amazing landmark event. Equally, I’m really excited to see the Football Ferns in action this year.”

Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Winter Olympic gold medalist, and most successful ever Winter Olympian Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, grew up playing football in Australia.

She also became the first snowboarder ever to defend a Slopestyle World Championship title in March 2021. She’s an inspiration to young snow sports athletes around the world, with two slopestyle world champion titles to her name and four X Games gold medals.

Sadowski-Synnott: ‘It’s going to be amazing …’

“It’s really awesome that New Zealand is hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup, it’s going to be amazing to see world-class matches happen on home soil,” she said.

“I’m really proud to be a Beyond Greatness Champion. One of the reasons I got into snowboarding is because I also wanted to inspire the next generation and I think this tournament is going to do just that for aspiring footballers around Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Dame Therese Walsh is Chair of ASB and Air New Zealand and has a strong background in major events in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dame Therese Walsh: ‘I’m so proud …’

She was part of the team that secured the hosting rights for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and then went on to hold the role of Chief Operating Officer for the tournament.

She was also the Head of NZ for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Dame Therese was recognised for her contribution to sport when she was made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015.

“I’m so proud Aotearoa NZ can host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023,” she said.

“We’ve got this wonderful history of hosting incredible major sporting events, and this one is the largest women’s sporting event in the world, so how incredible to have it in this beautiful, small country that really comes together and supports these events in a special way that I don’t think you’ll see anywhere else on the globe.”

Australia’s Beyond Greatness Champions

The first Australian champions revealed by FIFA are Paralympian and cancer survivor, Ellie Cole, Olympian and rugby sevens star Chloe Dalton and sports presenter Melanie McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said:”I genuinely don’t think that the mainstream public in Australia and New Zealand understand just how big the FIFA Women’s World Cup is going to be… what impact it’s going to have on kids and adults, all walks of life. The world is coming to our shores, the world is going to be watching. A whole generation is going to be inspired.”

FMG Waikato Stadium … will host intercontinental play-off games in February.

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