Football West commits to improved facilities access for TSP players

Football West has signed an agreement with the Mid West Academy of Sport in a bid to unearth and develop talent in and around the Geraldton region.

The deal will give players in Football West’s Hyundai Mid West Talent Support Program (TSP) access to a number of extra facilities. As well as receiving additional football training throughout the season, players based in the area will now have access to further strength and conditioning sessions, gym and physio, physical screening and testing and other services.

Football West Chief Football Officer Jamie Harnwell was pleased to announce the news.

“This is a great opportunity for our talented footballers in the Mid West to continue to develop without the constant burden of having to travel to Perth.”

“By making these services available, Football West and the Mid West Academy of Sport are providing a high quality, professional environment the equivalent of any metropolitan program.”

Mid West Academy of Sport CEO Darren Winterbine echoed Harnwell’s views, stating that this will help bridge the gap between football’s pathways and other sports in the region.

“It’s very exciting that we are now able to provide the services and specialised programs which we do for athletes from other sports”

“We have some really talented footballers in this town and we can give them an opportunity to get the highest level they can and access to facilities on par or better than metro kids have.”

Hyundai is the name sponsor of the TSP, which is an elite training program for talented boys and girls in metro and regional Western Australia.

The TSP is a pathway for players to be identified by coaches for national teams such as the Joeys and Junior Matildas.

Football West achieves incredible growth of player registrations

Football West have confirmed that player registrations in the state have reached an all-time high after passing the 50,000 mark for the first time.

The number of players in Western Australia registered on Play Football currently sits on 50,231 – 18% up on the same time in 2023 and also includes over 10,000 female players, another record figure and 34% increase from last year.

There are also 3,806 registered coaches in 2024, a massive 74% increase of last year’s figure which stood at 2,226 coaches.

Referee numbers are also 25% higher than at the same time 12 months ago, 408 in 2023 while in 2024 it is 510.

Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell was ecstatic to confirm this new milestone being hit in the state amongst other participation records.

“These numbers are incredible, and we are delighted to share them with the WA football community,” Harnwell said in a statement.

“We were expecting a spike after the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. However, this is a wider success story and the result of much hard work done across clubs, associations and the Football West team over a number of years.

“We also know that there is a lot of work to be done to ensure these record numbers are not a one-off, rather part of a long-term growth that sees football continue to be the No1 participation sport in Western Australia.

“This includes tackling the extra demands on clubs by providing adequate facilities, including more female-friendly facilities. This will help attract new people and hopefully see them develop a lifelong love of football.

“This is why Football West is currently carrying out a new facilities audit across the state. We are also working closely with the State Government and the Local Government Authorities to identify key areas required for investment.”

Football West are doing a fantastic job in providing adequate funding at grassroots levels for facilities, encouraging the youth to play the sport and ensuring that across all divisions of participation there are more willing to sign up.

As Harnwell mentioned, it’s much more than the sudden boom of the Women’s World Cup that was expected but rather years of hard work and great decisions that have led to these promising statistics and the plan now is to sustain this growth to hopefully become the most played sport in the state.

AFC Technical Committee create new awards to improve standards

The AFC Technical Committee had its second meeting last weekend in Doha, Qatar on the eve of the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Final between Japan and Uzbekistan.

The official AFC meeting outlines new initiatives on awarding development and solidifying supportive structures.

In conjunction with the overall rise in Women’s football within the AFC’s associations and the wider FIFA football community, The AFC has decided to unveil the new accolade of the AFC Women’s International Player of the Year Award.

The eligibility criteria include that applicants:

  • Must be Asian
  • Playing in the leagues of other Confederations
  • Have recorded significant achievements for country or club

There has also been an adapted criteria for the existing AFC Women’s Player of the Year. Similarly, they must be Asian and a regular national team player, specifically in the AFC competitions, and any of the AFC’s Member Associations (MAs) leagues.

The goalkeeper position has also been given due recognition with the Goalkeeper of the Tournament Award in the revamped AFC Champions League Elite – Final Stage, which commences from the 2024/25 season.

These initiatives are important for the AFC acknowledging crucial technical roles in the footballing scene. These individual awards give the incentive for further support for women and goalkeeping by officially elevating their status in the AFC.

Also, there was the support of structured initiatives within the AFC, including the ‘Positive Play’ campaign – promoting attractive football for players, coaches and supporters endorsing the expectation of positive future playing styles. This is especially prominent in the upcoming AFC youth competition with the winning team receiving a certificate of achievement.

On the topic of youth and growth, the AFC Elite Youth Scheme and AFC grassroots charter have also received updates and growing drive, including importantly newly updated regulations for the AFC Coaching Convention.

However, these decisions need to be further ratified by the AFC Executive Committee. This is a promising statement that the AFC Technical Committee is strategising large investments in increasing standards throughout all levels of the AFC’s MAs.

This meeting should also intrigue keen investors, shareholders and clubs in the AFC Technical Committees objective to encourage development means they are willing to reward. financially and strategically. This supports their aim to achieve higher standards and results on and off the field.

It’s an encouraging sign of evolution in the Asian football schedule and an ambitious push by the AFC.

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