“The Canterbury District Soccer Football Association can and will emerge stronger as a consequence of the 2020 season challenges. The CDSFA is made up of very resilient Clubs,” – those were the strong words highly-decorated and long serving Football administrator and CEO Ian Holmes stated with the grassroots season set to kick off shortly.
With registrations in full swing, the CDSFA, a proud association who is entering its 99th year of competition, continues to grow, develop, and mature with football setting the tone as the key sport within the area.
Holmes believes that what was a COVID-19 interrupted 2020 season has only strengthened the Association and clubs’ abilities and thought processes in ensuring the best possible experiences are seen for its participants.
“2020 has given us a sharper focus and less complacency. At this moment in our history, the only thing that is no longer unexpected is the use of the word “unprecedented”. We have all learnt lessons from 2020.
“I believe it is reasonable to say the best planning, response, recovery and rebuilding of football participation post-COVID-19 will be locally led by the Member Associations of Football NSW.”
The CDSFA has taken much thought in identifying key areas whereby resources were needed to take specific parts of the business to the next level.
With female football constantly on the rise, Holmes knew that he needed an influencer to steer the ship with the Association appointing former Sydney FC W-League keeper and ex-Football NSW Women’s & Schools Coordinator Trudy Burke.
“The significance of hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 has not been lost on the Association. In 2020 the Association made a strategic investment in a resource with the employment of Trudy Burke.
“The impact of the pandemic meant Trudy was allowed to do some in-depth research around female participation in the CDSFA footprint.
“As a result in 2021, there are many initiatives in and around female participation.
“These include a “Welcome to Football” Program which is a free introduction program targeting female youth.
“The “Kick on for Women” concept has been enhanced by Trudy and this has resulted in the growth of hubs and social leagues which are feeding into our Over 30 Women’s competitions.
“The Association is increasing the Free skills sessions for girls and women and this will include special guest coaches that Trudy has lined up through her extensive network.
“Female only coaching courses will be further expanded for MiniRoos and skills training together with goalkeeping courses and masterclasses.
“A female Football Festival will take place to celebrate the Female Football Week and a Female Football Forum with special guests will be launched.”
Along with a huge drive in promoting the women’s game, the CDSFA had a number of other exciting initiatives including the constant and consistent upgrades of facilities for its avid clubs as well as a new competitions management system that was set to take shape this year.
“Investment in local community football infrastructure is on-going.
“In late 2020 we saw the unveiling of the new modern facility at Majors Bay Reserve which is jointly used by Concord Junior Soccer Club and Inter Lions FC. A first-class facility which will be extensively used in 2021.
“The renovated new amenities building at Henley Park, home of Enfield Soccer Club will come online in April. This is the second stage of a major three-stage project to completely modernise the football experience and future proof the facility. Likewise at Strathfield Park, the new Amenities facility will also become operational complementing the two synthetic fields in which the local Council has made a significant investment in.
“New and upgraded floodlighting at both Bennett Park and Croydon Park is scheduled to be completed and become operational within weeks of the 2021 season commencing. This will be a significant factor in terms of the quality of floodlighting for the players training at those fields who are members of Roselands Raptors Club and Canterbury Junior Soccer Club.
“Very importantly is the complete renovation which has been commenced by the City of Canterbury Bankstown Council of the fields at Rudd Park, home of the Belmore Eagles Soccer Club. The work includes the installation of a full-size synthetic field and two MiniRoos synthetic pitches. This also includes the reconstruction of four other football fields at the park and new LED floodlighting.
“There is also the recent announcement by the NSW Government of further investment in the football facilities at Waterfront Drive, which sits within the Callan Park complex.
“The Association is also investing in improving its use of social and digital platforms and is close to appointing a dedicated resource to create content and drive traffic.
“Our competition management system is being enhanced through our partners Dribl. The priority for Dribl is to ensure the end-user is at the core of the experience, be they a player, parent, team coach or manager. Better use of technology is important for building passion, connectivity and commitment to the game.”
The initiatives didn’t stop for Holmes and his board as they are set to introduce an Over 50’s competition while targeting 17,000 players to register in 2021.
“The Association has one of its central purposes, the delivery of a competitive community football experience for all. We are about uniting cultures through football. No other sports can do what football does at a community level.
“In 2021 the Association is seeking to introduce for a first time an Over 50’s competition. It is just part of the evolutionary growth of the game.
“The Association has a target to reach in the next few seasons and that is 18,500 players. Our immediate target is to reach 17,000 players in 2021.
“This will then give us a firm base from which to drive registrations to the future target which has been set.”
Finally, apart from looking forward to seeing its existing and new players register for the 2021 season, Holmes pushed the notion that the drive for seeing more referees, officials and volunteers was also high on the Association’s agenda.
“There are plenty of roles available in football, not just the playing side of the game.
“Officiating is one which allows a person to have a physical involvement in the game and earn some “pocket money” on the side. It is good for fitness and health.
“Likewise, being a volunteer allows people to experience and learn new skills which they may not have the opportunity to do so in their professional or working roles.
On the other hand, people can bring their professional and working skills to the table in a club.
This is how football enriches our community.”
To find your nearest club in the Canterbury District Soccer Football Association area check out the graphic below and register today via the Play Football website on www.playfooball.com.au