With 20 clubs and over 11,500 registered players, the Hills Football Association had a debut season to remember after becoming officially recognised by Football New South Wales in 2017.
Also boasting over 3,000 summer players the Hills well and truly arrived on the Football NSW scene with a bang and General Manager Kurt Johnson said the Association is looking forward to bigger and better things in 2018.
“In terms of our first year as a Football NSW competition, we had a very good season,” he said.
“We’ve got 20 clubs participating in our competitions and we managed to have a very competitive spread of leagues throughout the Association.
“We cater for players from the ALDI MiniRoos Kick off Programs which is aimed at kids as young as four, and have leagues all the way up to Over-45s in mens and 35s in women’s competitions, as well as the usual open age men and women competitions – which all proved a big success last year.”
Having run female football competitions in the under-12, 14, 16 age groups, as well as open age competitions and over-35s, Johnson said there had been a real focus on driving more female players to the Association for the first season and the Hills expected an increase in female participation in 2018.
The Association is able to call on the considerable talents of Western Sydney Wanderers star Olivia Price, who is the Hills’ female football ambassador.
As part of her role, Price attends junior clinics and signing days to help drive greater participation from female footballers in the region, while she will also be helping out with the Hills’ ‘come-and-try’ clinic for young girls.
“We will be holding a free ‘come-and-try’ clinic for girls only in the New Year, which will give more kids the opportunity to come and try the sport without any obligations,” he said.
“If they enjoy themselves, then we can help them to find a club.”
The drive for more female players, coupled with an expected increase in junior participation as clubs field more teams, means the Hills are expecting to grow their player base by a considerable amount in 2018.
“We’re already seeing strong interest from clubs to field more junior teams so we’re expecting our player numbers to rise to around the 13,000 mark,” Johnson said.
“With more players we need more coaches, too, so the Association is working hard on a number of initiatives to ensure we have better representative pathways and more opportunities for our coaches to receive education.
“We’re lucky to have former Socceroos Steve O’Connor as our Technical Director and he’ll be running ‘coach-the-coach’ sessions which will help our community coaches get stated with their FFA licensing. We’ll also be paying for one coach from every club to complete the FFA ‘C’ Coaching License.”
Johnson said interested players or parents should head to the Association’s website, www.hillsfootball.com.au to learn more about the clubs within the Association and find one close to home ahead of the new season.
-By Matt Galea