Croydon FC to move into new $7 million facility in 2022

Croydon FC will move into a newly constructed facility setup at Regency Park Oval early next year, in what is a significant boost for the NPL club.

Amongst other things, two full-size synthetic pitches are set to be implemented at the club’s new home, with one of those already completed – alongside new clubrooms, a community function room and a junior grass pitch.

$4 million in funding for the project is being provided by the State Government, with the local Port Adelaide Enfield Council chipping in $3 million.

The relocation project was partly due to conflicting government infrastructure projects, but also down to the growth the club has been experiencing at a participation level.

“Croydon FC did recognise it outgrew its old facilities and developed a strategy for a new club which ensured that it catered for all members and players, provided up to date modern facilities and place where we could bring community and football together,” Chair of Croydon FC, Simon Garagaro said.

The club’s junior and senior setup will now be located at the same facility, something that was not possible in past times. It’s one of the many benefits the club is set to receive from the move.

“The benefits for, club, community, and football we believe will be significant,” Vice Chair of Croydon FC, Maria Hagias said.

“This opportunity will ensure that the whole club and teams are located within one facility, it provides a sense of connectedness that we have not experienced over the years due to having to run the club from several facilities.

“Our Senior men, women and juniors will be together sharing the joys and knowledge of football, building a sense of community and aspiration that will ensure that our club will continue its success for many years to come.

“Our region is culturally diverse, and we are proud to have a club that began due to the vision of migrants creating a sense of belonging and continuing that legacy until this day and into the future.”

At a junior level, participation numbers continue to rise rapidly at the club – particularly on the female side.

This trend is showing no signs of slowing down, especially with the new facilities at Regency Park Oval.

“We do expect an influx, the community has already embraced and are excited about the new facilities,” Hagias said.

“Trials for the season coming have already witnessed a significant increase from last year, resulting in extra teams for juniors and an increase in young girls wanting to participate in 2022.

“Our senior women’s team has enjoyed success over the last two years and promoting their success has resulted in an increase of women and girls wanting to join Croydon, alongside our new facilities.

“The Women’s World Cup is certainly creating excitement and engaging young girls and women, it is critical to capitalise on the potential that a World Cup brings to the sport and it is our responsibility to create an environment that equally invests and commits to female participation.

The club itself was founded in 1950 by Polish migrants, initially called Polonia Sports Club, before transitioning to a football club down the track.

The hard work of the community as whole has been essential to the foundations of the club.

“The club was established to use sport as a vehicle to connect as a community – to bring together whole of community, celebrating diversity and inclusion and addressing isolation,” Hagias explained.

“We are committed to the original vision and continue that today; this is evident across our club from our leadership body which ensures and is committed to diversity and to our volunteers and playing groups.

“Our club is successful due to the hard work and passion of volunteers and community.

“Our successes on and off the field are due to our volunteers, parents and players embracing our vision and values.

“We are proud of our club and its history, as a result we have produced amazing sports people who have gone on to represent Croydon proudly.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Newcastle Jets secure A-League future with new owners confirmed

Newcastle Jets have confirmed Maverick Sports Partners as the Club’s new owners. This ownership, subject to final approval from the APL and Football Australia, will launch a “new era” for the Jets under MSP ownership.

This massive announcement comes not long after Australian Professional Leagues chairman Stephen Conroy failed to guarantee Newcastle’s future only three months ago.

The statement said that Maverick Sports Partners have confirmed an agreement to acquire the Newcastle Jets Football Club and are now deeply focused on implementing their plans to bring long term stability and success to this Club.

The Group lead by experienced sports administrator Maurice Bisetto who played a major part in the establishment of Western United FC in the A-Leagues.

Maverick Sports Group is an Australian sports consortium based out of Wetherhill Park in Sydney’s South-West.

Newcastle Jets CEO Shane Mattiske confirmed the significant news.

“Today is a hugely significant day for this Club and this community, as we confirm Maverick Sports Partners as the new owners of the Jets,” said Mattiske in a club statement.

“Over the last three years, we have built a strong foundation for the future of this football club, and it is exciting to be beginning a new era with incoming owners who believe in the opportunity that exists with this Club, with this community and with football as a whole.

“Throughout our process, Maurice Bisetto, the consortium representative, and his partners have demonstrated a deep understanding of football and how to bring success. They also understand this community and their plans are very much aligned with the work that is already underway. I know the Group will bring positive new thinking, new connections and a wealth of experience that will drive the growth of this Club moving forward.

“With this transition to a permanent ownership structure, it is important to acknowledge the support that the outgoing ownership group has provided to the Club over the last three and a half years. These owners believed in the importance of this Club to this community and to the A-Leagues’ competition as a whole.

“They have played a hugely significant role in the history of this Club and on behalf of all fans and stakeholders of the Jets I want to acknowledge the commitment and contribution they have made to us all. Their huge support of this Club will forever be remembered.”

Maverick Sports Partners Director Maurice Bisetto is determined to connect with the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Northern NSW Community.

“We believe in this Club, the A-Leagues and its players and we’re determined to build success for the Jets and this region,” said Bisetto in a statement.

“We have been impressed by the strength of football here in this region. We know there is a strong historical fanbase and a strong participation base here and we want to bring all of these people together for our Men’s and Women’s games.

“Our team at Maverick Sports Partners are absolutely committed to, and very excited, about the opportunity that exists here at the Newcastle Jets. We see this as the beginning of a new era for the Newcastle Jets and look forward to building a truly great Club with the support of this community.”

This news is huge for the league and the Jets financially, with the club no longer being a financial responsibility for the four other A-League clubs that funded them (Sydney FC, Western Sydney, Western United and Wellington Phoenix).

The Jets can easily recruit players and rebuild to become a stronger unit on the field whilst securing stability off it, and the foundation A-League club with a healthy fanbase and great location can continue to exist.

Iconic Lambert Park re-opens after $2m refurbishment

Lambert Park, home of the APIA Leichardt Football Club, officially re-opened on the weekend after a successful $2m refurbishment.

The extensive investment for the iconic local club includes:

– Replacement of the all-weather playing surface

– Improved drainage

– New concrete edge, stairs and fencing around the perimeter

– Improved access with a new ramp to allow access on the field

The ground is gradually improving to become one of the premier NPL surfaces in the country and this is another one of many recent upgrades helped by the commitment of the Inner West Council.

Currently the ground has two main stands on either side of the playing surface. In the southern stands, there are dressing room facilities, a social club with views of the game, press facilities and media facilities.

On Sunday, the new look Lambert Park was the home for the APIA Leichardt vs Gladesville Ravens NPL Women’s game, and the day was spent in celebration of the refurbishment, as the club organised an event.

The event included an official ceremony by Inner West Council pre-game, free ice cream and activations which drew a decent crowd to the game.

APIA posted an update regarding Sunday’s re-opening.

“Lambert Park was filled with Maroon and Blue as over 400 predominantly female footballers celebrated the $2 million Lambert Park upgrade,” APIA confirmed on their social media accounts.

“The day was filled with some fantastic football and some great activations and enjoyed by all.

“The clubs would also like to thank local clubs Balmain & District Football Club, Leichardt Saints and opponents on the day Gladesville Ravens Women’s NPL football for supporting the day.

“It was a special day for football in our community.”

Lambert Park is an iconic ground that has seen some of Australia’s best names start their careers there since it was first used in 1954.

APIA Leichardt Football Club has produced more Matildas and Socceroos than any other club in Australian history.

The ground gets another much deserved upgrade and will continue to host NPL NSW matches across all age groups in both men’s and women’s competitions.

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