The Blacktown District Soccer Football Association continues to go from strength to strength in promoting the game on a grassroots level.
This season alone, the BDSFA have hosted over 7560 matches at 32 locations over 18 rounds.
The association involves 23 clubs, with over 9500 members; almost 4000 of which are a part of their ALDI MiniRoos program.
The BDSFA board, headed by Executive Director Bill Owen, continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes to promote inclusivity and diversity in the game.
Grand Final time is soon approaching, with deciders from all grades taking place at Blacktown Football Park from the 23rd to 25th of August.
And the association are excited to announce that for the first time their Premier League Grand Final will be live-streamed to audiences on their Facebook page.
“It is our watermark event of the year,” Owen said.
“We play all of our grand finals over six fields at the one location, Blacktown Football Park.
“It runs from Friday night through to Sunday afternoon.
“We see over 20,000 people through the park over those two and a half days, which is always great to see.”
The BDSFA Premier League competition was restructured heading into the 2019 campaign, providing a clear pathway from grassroots football through to the highest level the association has to offer.
Owen revealed that while the process has been a learning experience for all, the alterations have already gone down a treat.
“The re-structuring of our Premier League competition has been a wonderful success, introducing a Tier 1 and Tier 2 with promotion and relegation,” he said.
“This allows the clubs to flood the age groups through, developing their youth.
“It (the restructuring) helps you realise the difficulties and the challenges of playing an upper-level football competition, and how you have to build your structures, processes and clubs.
“These, in turn, provide pathways for the next generation, both male and female, to come through.
“We have a document that allows for certain participation numbers – including an option A and option B, which allows clubs to have certainty of a future moving forward.”
As Marconi Stallions prepare to take on A-League heavyweights Melbourne City in the FFA Cup Round of 16, earlier on in their cup journey they took on a BDSFA Premier League side in an even greater David vs Goliath encounter.
Back in April, Round 5 of the Cup saw Ponds FC host the National Premier Leagues Men’s 1 outfit at a packed-out Jonas Bradley Reserve, in what was a wonderful occasion for the community.
“It was great for the association, but the success and credit has to go to Ponds for their marketing, promotion and development of their Premier League side,” Owen said.
“Credit to them, they did exceptionally well.
“Under Ryan Talbot and Brad Attard, the committee at Ponds did a great job.”
As is now commonplace across Sydney, the ALDI MiniRoos program continues to thrive throughout the Blacktown area.
BDSFA have taken a particular interest in ensuring a level playing field and subsequent heightened enjoyment for their youngsters.
“We had our ALDI MiniRoos gala days recently, which were a great success as always,” Owen said.
“What we do is regrade some of our ALDI MiniRoos sides regularly, to make sure we balance our competitions across the board.
“That means we have similar ability kids playing each other each week without disparaging outcomes.
“That’s been driven by our MiniRoos standing committee and headed by Michael Carraro.
“It’s really been a success story because they make up nearly 50% of our registration numbers.”
The BDSFA are also making strides in establishing a specialised approach for young female footballers.
Another initiative introduced by the association, in collaboration with the Granville District Soccer Football Association, is known as the Phoenix League.
“We have recently combined with the GDSFA to form a competition involving all of our female footballers,” Owen explained.
“The Phoenix League sees over 722 registered girls play each weekend.
“This gives the highest seen participation numbers on the park every week.”
Blacktown continues to be a fertile breeding ground for future talent, as exemplified by the success of the area’s Association Youth League sides.
“The AYL is an intermediate pathway to start players on their journey to playing at an elite level,” Owen said.
“It’s been a really big success for us, with Brian Vella and the team leading our teams who are all in contention for the finals.”
The upcoming months will also see the return of BDSFA’s Summer Football program, which operates twice a week at Blacktown Football Park and Ponds Stadium.
Another great cause promoted within the area is Kings Langley Soccer Football Club Open Goals Football Program, which has been in place for over a decade.
The program is designed to offer those aged from 5-18 with special needs or a disability the opportunity to play football in an enjoyable environment.
By Football NSW Reporter Chris Curulli (Twitter handle @ChrisCurulli)