The State’s two elite football facilities were abuzz on the weekend with both Football NSW (FNSW) and Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) hosting Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) Gala Days at their respective homes of football at Valentine Sports Park and the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
A total of 470 games were played across the two facilities on the weekend – 287 at Valentine Sports Park and 183 at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
Football NSW’s weekend featured U11 and U12 sides along with the U12 Girls SAP.
Northern NSW Football’s weekend saw 10, 11 and 12 years boys and girls compete, along with the Emerging Jets 9, 10 and 11 years boys, as well as the 11 and 12 years girl sides.
A total of 55 teams and more than 450 players participated at Lake Macquarie, consisting of sides from six of Northern NSW Football’s Member Zones – Football Mid North Coast, Hunter Valley Football, Macquarie Football, Newcastle Football, North Coast Football and Northern Inland Football.
Whilst at Valentine Sports Park, over 60 teams (41 SAP clubs and 20 Girls Only sides) and more than 1350 players participated, with Football NSW sides joined by teams from Griffith Football, Canberra United and the Emerging Jets.
The CEO’s of both governing bodies praised the weekends and the opportunities the SAP program provides for young players across NSW.
‘A culmination of a fantastic season and a chance for kids across the state to test themselves against others as they all raise the standard,’ Football NSW CEO Eddie Moore said.
‘The Future of Football is strong! The review of the matches and playing style shows a marked improvement in the technical skills of the players – particularly the girls.’
‘It was a great weekend of Football from all the SAP players, coaches and parents who thoroughly enjoyed the experience in a new and vastly improved facility at Valentine Sports Park.’
‘SAP is totally committed to a development focus and the creation of the best possible learning environment in youth Football. Gala Days are a great opportunity for many to see the wide scope of teams and players from many areas of Football NSW coming together to play,’ Moore concluded.
Moore’s sentiments were echoed by NNSWF CEO David Eland.
‘Collectively, the weekend saw the best of the State’s young footballers come together at the State’s two leading venues to play and continue their development at the best facilities available,’ Eland said.
‘These weekends have been an outstanding success at both facilities and have been applauded by coaching staff, players and families alike as an ideal platform to continue to foster the development of our best junior talent, by giving members the opportunity to benefit from the utilization of state of the art facilities.’
‘Initiatives such as these will continue, as both organisations partner in the development of the junior talent across NSW and collectively work towards the objective of the FFA’s Whole of Football Plan to provide a pipeline of talent for our professional clubs and National Teams into the future,’ Eland concluded.