Looking after the world game

City of Greater Geelong mayor Trent Sullivan. (supplied)

The Greater Geelong region has a long and proud association with soccer.

We have produced many fine players who have enjoyed amazing success on the world stage.

The popularity of the sport continues to build, and in the past 10 years there has been an overall growth rate of 67 percent.

That is why the release of the G21 Regional Football (Soccer) Strategy 2023 – 2033 is so important.

The strategy provides an update to the initial 2012 strategy and identifies a roadmap for the continued enhancement of facilities provision in the region.

In addition, it seeks to develop a plan that drives participation and enhances the experience of all participants, while identifying the priorities for investment in related infrastructure.

Soccer has huge growth potential, but with a guiding document to help foster the forecasted growth of more than 1500 additional football and futsal players in the region across the next 10 years, we can all now be on the same page with regards to the direction the sport takes.

That is everyone from local government, local clubs, schools, the sport’s governing bodies and associations, and state and federal governments as well.

Council sees great potential for soccer in this region and, accordingly, is investing where it matters.

In our most recent round of community infrastructure grants, we have provided funding to North Geelong Warriors ($255,000) for lighting upgrades at Elcho Park, Breakwater Eagles ($50,000) for lighting at Howard Glover Reserve, and Geelong Rangers ($40,2000) for concept planning for the replacement of clubrooms at Myers Reserve.

In addition, we funded lighting projects at Geelong Soccer Club ($126,000) and Bell Park Sports Club last year, and works on the $1.95 million changeroom redevelopment at Bell Park Sports Club – which will incorporate female friendly changerooms – will soon be complete.

From the City of Greater Geelong’s perspective, the strategy has considered a range of regional and local issues specific to our municipality.

Some of these include delivery of the Armstrong Creek West sub-regional football facility, improving the quality and capacity of existing pitches, improving the quality to player and referee change facilities, provision of indoor facilities to support futsal growth, and activating sites where provision

shortages exist and demand necessitates, particularly within growth areas.

With the release of the G21 Regional Football (Soccer) Strategy 2023 – 2033 we now have a greater understanding of what we need to do to ensure future generations can also enjoy the sport for years to come.