The Manly Warringah Football Association’s (MWFA) strong focus on providing local footballers a rewarding playing experience has seen an explosion in participation and retention in the local game.
The 2019 numbers put the MWFA top of the charts when it comes to player numbers in New South Wales.
MWFA and Manly United chief executive David Mason said putting the player experience first was key to the association’s incredible growth over the last four years.
“It’s a nice bit of recognition for everyone involved in the sport on the Northern Beaches,” he said. “Making decisions that consider everybody playing the game, and not just the Premier League and Division 1 competitions has been a major factor.
“The reality is that most people who play our sport at this level do it for fun and to play with their friends.
“We recognised that and while we still want to make sure we provide opportunities for our good players to be the best that they can be, we also need to make broader decisions that ensure the experience of all our players is a positive one.”
MWFA is certainly nailing that brief.
With players from as young five right through to over-45s, Mason credits the association’s success in player retention to programs such as the Club Coach Coordinator program which ensures each club has an ongoing support system for club coaches of all levels.
“We believe that the coach is the one person that dictates whether or not a player has a good, positive experience or not,” he said.
“Our Community Coach Development Manager runs the CCC courses from grassroots right up to the C-license and we invested some money back into the clubs who were embracing the CCC program, including actually paying for two coaches to do their C-License.”
With over 18,500 players, ensuring an ongoing positive relationship with local councils has been crucial to accessing the required infrastructure and, where possible, grants for clubs looking to develop their own facilities.
“Northern Beaches Council releases a sports field strategy which were a part of and we’re working with them not just to improve facilities but to improve lighting so we can play games on Friday nights and Saturday evenings,” Mason said.
“We’ve been able to grow without running out of fields and a lot of that is about optimising existing facilities with synthetic grass and lighting to ensure we can use those facilities all year round and for longer periods.”
With competitions, clubs and teams catering for all age levels and abilities, there’s no better place to play football in 2020.
To find your local club, head to http://www.mwfa.com.au/ for more information.