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Is grassroots soccer more important than the elite level?

Grassroots Soccer

It’s easy to live in the present, to enjoy the moment, the times that you live in. It’s even easier to keep your concentration solely on your priorities in the present. 

But what the great businesses and organisations do differently is what sets them apart from everyone else. Their ability to adapt and look forward to the future, to those who will define their business/organisation when they’re long gone. 

In the case of soccer clubs and the FFA, to keep a sustained and vested interest in grassroots is what is going to hold them in good stead in the next 20-30 years. Planning for the long term, strategically, is critical to the success of anything. 

And it all starts at that level, grassroots. Junior soccer participation numbers are at optimum levels and soccer, as a sport, has never been more popular. The A-League, for all its divisiveness, has grown exponentially and has begun attracting attention from across the world. The NPL, the second division of Australian soccer, has grown in recent years and has risen from the ashes of the NSL. 

Combine this with the fact that the Socceroos haven’t missed a World Cup since 2006, Australian soccer is in a perfect position to capitalise on youth. To motivate them to want to play soccer in the future. To try and turn Australia into a soccer powerhouse. 

It all begins at the grassroots level. Why? First impressions. It’s always about the first impressions, especially with children. The soccer ability of children needs to be nurtured at a young age, in a way that helps develop them as a player, but more importantly as a person. If done successfully and in a way that doesn’t demotivate them, the sky is the limit. 

Take for example, Paris-Saint Germain wonderkid Kylian Mbappe. At 19 years old, he won the FIFA World Cup with France, had played Champions League football, became one of the world’s most expensive players and had comparisons to the great Thierry Henry. How many 19 year old boys can say that they had a net worth of seven plus figures at the same age?  

I certainly can’t say that. And I’m 367 days older than Kylian. But what most likely differentiates him from everyone else is that he had the talent as a junior. That talent was then nurtured correctly, allowing him to unlock his potential as a soccer player. His career would be nothing without the hard work he puts in, obviously. But at a young age, his ability was recognised and then allowed the blossom under the guidance of the right people. 

And sure, meeting Thierry Henry at a young age would’ve motived him to no end. It would motivate anyone, really. But all that motivation would culminate in him understanding how hard he needed to work to get to the top. Nothing comes without hard work, that’s a fact. But through his upbringing, coaching and talent, he has been able to do what very few can. 

On the flip side of all that, we have those who had the talent, but not the work ethic. Casual fans refer to these players as ‘flops’. It’s a very harsh word to use, but they’re on the right track. 

Take Ravel Morrison. I’m sure Manchester United fans know this name all too well. Once described by Rio Ferdinand and Sir Alex Ferguson as the next big thing, Morrison always had the talent. Plus, playing for Manchester United and under Ferguson would’ve been the dream for a young player wanting to make a name for themselves. 

But Morrison, as the soccer world has come to know, didn’t have the desire to work hard. Loaned out more times than we could count, sold off to different clubs, Morrison saw his career go from hero to zero. 

After being sent out on loan by Italian club Lazio to Mexican club Atlas, Morrison decided to permanently move closer to home, signing a contract with Swedish club Ostersunds. But to say it’s a huge fall from grace would be the understatement of the year. And it’s barely March. 

Morrison could’ve been anything. An England great, a United great, a Champions League winner. He had the soccer world at his feet. But he lacked the one thing he needed most to attain all those accolades. 

The desire to work hard. 

And here we are. He’s 26, supposed to be in the prime of his career. Yet, he couldn’t be further from it. And for how much people will say he’s the definition of a ‘flop’, it’s actually quite sad. He would’ve had dreams, wanting to be the next superstar, just like any other young star. But it hasn’t come to fruition. He still has time to turn it around, but we’ve been saying it for so long now, it’s almost like beating a dead horse. One can hope. 

But he does show one thing, if nothing else. The grassroots level is critical to the development of soccer players, mentally and physically. If a player has the talent, it needs to be nurtured. If nurtured properly, it becomes a case of wanting to do the hard yards all day, every day. Some will turn out to be Mbappes, some will turn out to be Morrisons.  

But everything has a beginning. And the beginning is the most integral part of the entire process. 

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Football Queensland to introduce new referee support measures in 2021

Football Queensland have announced they will implement a range of new referee support measures for the 2021 season.

The news comes after a host of successful initiatives were launched across the sunshine state last year.

“Football Queensland is proud to be launching a range of new referee initiatives this year to provide even stronger support and development opportunities for our match officials across Queensland,” FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said.

“We know that the growth of our game is underpinned by the quality and number of referees and coaches which is why we are so committed to increasing the number of referees in our game by improving development opportunities for match officials at all levels.

“With FQ’s significant investment in referees in 2020, it’s fantastic to see registration numbers already 20% higher than they were at this time in 2019, and we’re confident that these additional support measures we have in place across the state will continue to build on this increase in participation levels around Queensland.

“2021 will see the introduction of seven Referee Coach and Development Officers around the state, a buddy system for junior referees and new assessor and mentor ID tags as part of the ‘No Badge, No Bench, No Ref Room’ policy. We’re confident that we are on track to achieve our strategic target of 2,200 referees by 2022.”

“Football Queensland is committed to creating a family culture amongst our referees across the state through the implementation of a range of additional support measures this year,” FQ Senior Manager – State Referees Jacqui Hurford said.

“The recent announcement of the appointment of Referee Coach and Development Officers in seven of our ten zones is a huge boost for our game, and will assist FQ in the recruitment and retention of referees around the state while providing a new level of support to match officials from a local perspective.

“We’re also about to commence a monthly junior online coaching session and are excited to this year launch a buddy system for our junior referees, with more experienced referees acting as mentors to provide guidance and assistance throughout the season.

“To help upskill our instructors, mentors and referees, FQ has recently delivered instructor workshops in Far North and North Queensland, Wide Bay and Central Queensland.

“In line with the ‘No Badge, No Bench, No Ref Room’ policy mandated across all Queensland competitions this year, all referee assessors and mentors have been assigned identification tags to ensure they are registered and hold a valid blue card, supporting the safeguarding children measures currently in place in our game.

“Some of our clubs are also doing great work to support the recruitment and retention of referees, including Caboolture FC who supported 50 of their club referees through a referee course earlier this year.

“As Football Queensland continues to implement additional support measures, we look forward to welcoming more referees to our game from across the state.”

A list of the 2021 Football Queensland Referee Support Initiatives can be found below.

2021 FQ Referee Support Initiatives

Instructor workshops across regional parts of Queensland

Referee Coach and Development Officers in seven zones

Buddy system for junior referees

Monthly junior online coaching sessions

Referee assessor and mentor ID tags

 

Ausco Modular: Providing football clubs with infrastructure solutions across Australia

As football participation numbers continue to rise across Australia, so does the demand for appropriate community facilities for football clubs.

Modular buildings, which are built offsite in factories, have a range of benefits for clubs looking to address their facility challenges, including: Lower building costs, significant time savings when compared to conventional on the ground constructions, less disruptions to playing fields and less waste overall.

Ausco Modular is one of Australia’s largest providers of modular infrastructure solutions for temporary and permanent purposes throughout the sporting sector.

Ausco’s design teams have worked closely with national and state sporting codes to develop facilities that meet or exceed minimum standards across the board.

For example, the company have entered into an agreement with Football Queensland, acting as the governing body’s Official Modular Facilities Partner.

Through this partnership, Football Queensland released a Modular Sporting Facilities Guide with support from Ausco.

The guide looks to inform the local football community on viable solutions by providing a range of recommendations for clubs and councils at all levels, to install modular buildings which are the right fit for their situation.

“The Modular Sporting Facilities Guide provides clubs with everything they need to know to develop suitable change rooms or clubhouses, canteens and referee rooms,” FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said.

“The guide outlines Football Queensland’s approved designs, which can assist Local Council Authorities, consultants, building designers and developers in constructing facilities for the state’s largest club-based participation sport.”

“We are proud to continue our support for the Queensland football community,” said Adrian Moffatt, Executive General Manager and General Counsel for Ausco Modular.

“Ausco Modular is known for producing state-of-the-art amenity buildings which are sustainable, delivered quickly and tailored specifically for football by our in-house design team.

“We are excited to continue to collaborate with clubs, zones and Football Queensland on improving football infrastructure throughout the state on an ongoing basis.”

A list of Ausco’s most popular modular solutions for football clubs are shown below:

Design 1 

2 Changerooms, 2 Amenities Rooms

Design 1 Floor Plan

 

Design 2 

4 Changerooms, 4 Amenities Rooms

Design 2 Floor Plan

 

Design 3 

2 Changerooms, 2 Amenities Rooms, 1 Referee Changeroom, 2 Storerooms, 1 Canteen

Design 3 Floor Plan

 

Design 4 

2 Changerooms, 2 Amenities Rooms, 1 Referee Changeroom, 2 Storerooms, 1 Canteen, 1 Unisex/Disabled Amenity

Design 4 Floor Plan

 

Design 5 

2 Changerooms, 2 Amenities Rooms, 1 Referee Changeroom, 2 Storerooms, 1 Canteen, 1 Unisex/Disabled Amenity, 1 Social/Function Room, 1 Cleaning Room, 1 Male/Female Amenity

Design 5 Floor Plan

 

All of Ausco facilities can be customised and reconfigured through the following options:

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Disabled access toilet (with baby change table)
  • Access ramp with landing and handrails

TRAINING & RECOVERY

  • Change room netting
  • Gym room 40m2
  • Sherwood gym flooring, 15mm thick
  • Ice bath including connections
  • Ice machine including connections
  • Lockers
  • Strapping tables

SECURITY

  • Window shutters
  • Security system

COMFORT & AMENITY

  • Additional aesthetic features
  • Air-conditioning
  • Bifold doors for social rooms
  • Breezeway
  • Canopy at entrance doors
  • Cool room store
  • Covered deck or veranda area
  • External specification upgrade
  • Skylights
  • Steps, ramps and landings with handrails
  • Solar panels

LANDSCAPING

  • Retaining walls
  • External lighting
  • Terrace seating
  • Signage
A rendered image of a clubhouse to be built by Ausco for Virginia United Football Club

Ausco’s wide range of solutions have fit the needs of many football clubs around Australia, including clubs such as The Wide Bay Buccaneers, who are based in Queensland.

Ausco Modular were contacted by the club’s local council, Fraser Coast Regional Council, to begin stage 1 of a $48 million master plan development.

The development included the implementation of a 44x14m football clubhouse for the Wide Bay Buccaneers.

Within 20 weeks, Ausco had manufactured, transported and installed the clubhouse at the Hervey Bay site.

The facility included multiple unisex compliant changerooms, meeting rooms, storage areas, public amenities, referee and first aid rooms, a kiosk and much more.

“The Buccaneers do a fantastic job and to be honest with you, with this Ausco build they have one of the best facilities going around,” former Football Queensland General Manager Brendan Boss said.

Andrew Treloar, Corporate Project and Deliver Coordinator at Fraser Coast Regional Council said of the execution of the project: “Ausco helped me by delivering a superior product to budget and on-time. Their modular format and in-house design team was instrumental in the delivery process allowing Fraser Coast Regional Council to achieve its delivery objectives.”

For more information about Ausco Modular visit https://ausco.com.au/sports-facilities.

 

 

Football Queensland suspends football activity in Greater Brisbane Area

Football Queensland have suspended all football activity in the Greater Brisbane Area following the news of a three-day lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

The governing body released the following statement on their website on Monday through FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci.

“Following the Queensland Government announcement this morning of a three-day lockdown in the Greater Brisbane area from 5pm today, all football activity in Greater Brisbane has been suspended pending further advice,” he stated.

“The suspension of all football activity includes any and all forms of training sessions, matches and all other football-related gatherings, and will take effect from 5pm today, Monday 29 March 2021 for all participants and clubs in the areas of Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Logan, Redlands and Ipswich. 

“Participants who have been in the Greater Brisbane area since March 20 are also required to follow the lockdown restrictions and should not participate in any football activity even if they are currently located outside of the Greater Brisbane region. 

“The current suspension of football activity will apply until 11:59pm on Thursday, 1 April, with all FFA Cup and Kappa Women’s Super Cup matches scheduled for Thursday night now postponed until further notice. 

“Football Queensland will provide a further update on the suspension of football activity in the coming days based on advice from Queensland Government.”

More information in the near future can be found here https://footballqueensland.com.au/coronavirus-covid-19/.

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