Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Regional centres need our support to promote the game

Woodbridge may be bottom of Division Four, but the players and officials are enjoying the game and doing the best they can to promote soccer in an area that is not exactly a hot bed of the round-ball game.

The club is also trying to cater for juniors in the area, without much help from anyone.

“Last year, we had a very strong under-15 team that was made up of three under-13 players, two under-14s and five under-15s,” said Woodbridge president, Dalles Hayes (pictured left).

“They regularly only played with ten, and sometimes nine, and were very competitive, beating Hobart Olympic 3-2 in one game with only nine players.

“Sadly, because of this lack of players, this youth team has not been able to carry on with the club or even continue playing together.

“Some of those kids had been playing together since under-6s.

“At present, we have around 20 players in the under-10 to under-13 age group and I am determined that we will provide this particular group of children with better opportunities as they progress through to the youth level.

“We do not have a coach qualified at this level yet, but another coach and I intend to do our youth coaching course this year.

“We have three or four players in our senior team that are under 19, with the youngest having just turned 15.”

Hayes said that there is potential for the game to develop in Woodbridge and that the club hoped to field teams in most junior age groups in the years to come.

“Last year, two boys from our under-15s, Jed Peebles-Stringer and Jack Asprey, went overseas to represent Australia in Futsal,” Hayes said.

“A few years earlier, Kate Markellos was in the southern girls’ representative team, and Lizann Gibbons was selected in the State women’s team.

“There is the potential that we will continue producing players of this calibre from our area and the challenge is to be able to nurture this talent.

“I believe that the majority of the local community have a high regard for any sporting opportunities that are provided for children locally as there is not much on offer.

“Football Federation Tasmania do no more for Woodbridge than they do for any other club, but making coaching courses available and more accessible for, not only Woodbridge, but also for Cygnet and Huonville, would be a start.

“Basing these courses in Kingston would provide better access for all three clubs.

“In a perfect world, they could provide a subsidy of some form to clubs in regional or lower socio-economic areas, but that would be expecting a bit much.”

Woodbridge shares a small club house with the local cricket club and there are no change rooms and only limited storage space.

“The club is about kids playing soccer and, really, all you need for that is a ball,” said Hayes.

“Our 11-a-side pitch is the smallest in the senior competition and our junior pitches either run across this pitch or are beside it.”

If small regional clubs such as Woodbridge can grow and be successful, it is the game as a whole that would benefit.

But, for that to happen, such clubs need a bit of a helping hand from the governing body.

And, if anyone wants a game, Woodbridge could do with some extra players, and a pleasant afternoon drive down the Channel should be enough incentive and reward for most people.


Brian Roberts said...

I beleive Clubs like Woodbridge are the salt of the earth .

My wish is to see clubs of this nature scattered through out Southern Tasmania .

My good wishes for your continued success , If I lived in the Channel area my golfing and football needs would be close to hand.

jerrie kruijver said...

brian you are so right,clubs like woodbridge deserve all the help they can get