FC Leopold boosted by $1.57 million facility upgrade project

FC Leopold are set to reap the rewards of a $1.57 million facility upgrade project at Estuary Reserve, the club’s home ground.

Funding provided by the City of Greater Geelong Council and the Victorian Government’s World Game Facilities Fund will enable the construction of a modular pavilion, which will include female friendly changerooms, as well as spaces for amenities, storage and social activities.

The Victorian Government will contribute $250,000 to the project with the remainder funded by the local council.

Co-founder of FC Leopold, Jared Larkins, was heavily involved the process of acquiring the grants needed to fund the proposal.

“For some time, we had been lobbying through various groups such as the City of Greater Geelong Council, as well as the local and federal members – to fund this project,” he told Soccerscene.

“We got out and attended our own drawings and we created plans to really envisage what we wanted the site to be.

“We really just kept on council’s back that we needed this upgrade as our club was ever-growing and our two-room facility just wasn’t fit for purpose for any of our members.

“When the World Game Facilities Fund came along it provided an opportunity for the City of Greater Geelong to get on board. They had another project in Geelong they wanted to make happen, so I think that also helped us significantly.”

Larkins is optimistic that barring any COVID related issues, FC Leopold members will be in their new digs before the end of 2022.

“We are hoping that site works begin in either September and October,” he said.

“We should be in them by the end of year, they are modular and being built off site and then they’ll drop them on site and they should be finished off within a couple of weeks.”

The club itself was established just five years ago in 2016, registering multiple senior men’s teams, a senior women’s side and a handful of junior teams.

Although it has a relatively short history, the club is set to be benefitted by the upgrades in a wide range of ways.

“In terms of the club, it will allow our younger members and female members a little bit more comfortability in changing and playing at the club,” Larkins said.

“The current facilities are not the friendliest or most inviting of spaces, and we did have some members who wouldn’t change at the club for that reason.

“I think it will make our club more inviting and allow us to hold functions, which is something we haven’t been able to do since our inception. That will obviously allow us to raise some more funds, as at the moment if we want to hold a function, we have to rent out another venue.

“It will also give the club a chance to generate revenue in general, through canteen revenue, various functions and things like that, and because of that hopefully the club can grow its membership base.”

FC Leopold wants to continue to engage with the community and believes the new facilities will provide the locals with an appropriate avenue to connect through sport.

“The area of Geelong and Leopold is growing quite rapidly and there’s soccer clubs fifteen minutes either side of where we are positioned, so it allows the local community a spot closer to home to be able to play and be active,” Larkins said.

The club has ambitions to grow further and expand in future years, but according to Larkins, that wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t receive these facility grants.

“I don’t think our club would have been able to grow further without it,” he said.

“Without these additional facilities, we would be capped at the number of teams we have now.

“We have already probably expanded too much for what we’ve got at the moment, in terms of things we own such as equipment (as we don’t have enough space to store it on site), so without these new facilities we wouldn’t grow.”



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.

Female friendly facilities unveiled by St Marys Band Rangers FC

Nepean FA

Nepean Football Association side St Marys Band Rangers FC have had their home ground Kevin Dwyer Fields rejuvenated by the Penrith City Council’s recent capital works program.

Penrith City Council have completed amenity upgrades on several football fields over the last 12 months with females being the big winners.

With the female game growing year by year, the facility at Kevin Dwyer Fields saw an upgrade to the existing change rooms with fresh paint, new bench seating and most importantly lockable showers and toilets for females.

Female friendly amenities provide a safe and inviting space for women to prepare for competition and training without the need to change in cars.

Change room provision trends are very much based on historical male sport requirements. Many councils like Penrith City are now renewing amenity buildings to ensure they are future-proofed for all genders.

Also included in the upgrade was a new accessible toilet and additional storage.

Football NSW Manager – Government Relations, Funding and Infrastructure, Daniel Ristic:

“Increasing the level of club storage provision was a key priority that associations identified during the consultation process for the NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy.

“The NSW football facilities audit highlighted that the amenity buildings in Penrith City Council were not female friendly, with only 11% of football amenity buildings classified as female friendly/gender neutral.”

The project came to a grand total of $480,735, with Penrith City Council contributing $357,235.

The NSW State Government, through the Community Building Partnerships program, provided $73,500 with the Sport Australia Community Sport Infrastructure Grant contributing $50,000.

The ability to partner with all three levels of government highlighted the success of this project.

Football participation in the Penrith LGA has increased by 13% since 2018, highlighting the popularity of the world game even with two years affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iconic Melita Stadium receives makeover


Parramatta Eagles Football Club are set to enter season 2022 refreshed with a makeover to their iconic Melita Stadium.

The Eagles were successful in obtaining $50,000 from the Community Building Partnerships Program. Melita Stadium is a historic venue known to all that love the world game and has been given a new lease on life thanks to the funding.

With the likes of past and present Socceroos such as Marshall Soper, Ahmad Elrich, Oliver Bozanic, Mark Milligan and Mitch Duke to name a few that called Melita Stadium home, the well overdue upgrade will no doubt support the development of more future stars coming through from the football mad area.

The stadium exterior has been rejuvenated with the renewal of the dugouts which have a new modern and sleek look.

New white handrails and a sheltered area between the two technical areas have made the grandstand shine anew.

Parramatta FC contributed $20,000 to the upgrade, one that Club Facilities and Operations Manager Osman Jebara was grateful to see finally complete.

“The stadium has come a long way and the grant has made a real difference to the club,” he said.

“Parramatta FC would like to thank Lynda Voltz for believing in our project and Cumberland Councillor Ola Hamed for her support as well.”

Auburn State Member Lynda Voltz and Cumberland Councillor Ola Hamed attended the unveiling of the rejuvenated Melita Stadium.

“The Melita Stadium upgrade has shown how successful the Community Building Partnership Program can be for community clubs across NSW,” Daniel Ristic said – Football NSW Manager of Government Relations, Funding, and Infrastructure.

Melita Stadium is not only home to Parramatta Eagles FC, but it’s also home to Granville District Soccer Football Association.

The club and association now turn it focus on upgrading stadium lighting, changerooms and further upgrades to the grandstand as it seeks to revamp the historic football stadium for the future.

Homes of Football are a crucial pillar of the NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy as they significantly improve access to football programs, pathways, and development services.

The planned upgrades for the future will ensure football can thrive in the historic Granville region.

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