12 February 2018

FFA closes Centre of Excellence

| Capital Football
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Football Federation Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Canberra will close later this year as part of a strategy to provide opportunities for talented young players around Australia.

The changes continue FFA’s strategy of putting clubs – including Hyundai A-League, Westfield W-League and National Premier League clubs – at the heart of player development.

“Capital Football supports FFA in their decision to provide opportunities for more talented young players around Australia,” said Capital Football CEO Phil Brown.

“We acknowledge the tremendous service the Centre of Excellence and its coaching staff have provided young players over many years.

“We look forward to supporting FFA’s renewed player development pathways, engaging the HAL, WWL and NPL Clubs, providing opportunities for our young aspiring boys and girls.”

The closure of the Centre of Excellence does not have any direct effect on the 2017 Playstation 4 National Premier Leagues Capital Football. The Centre of Excellence team as an ‘academy’ is not eligible to play in the finals series, and will complete their regular season commitments prior to the closure of their football program in late August.

The timing of FFA’s announcement coincides with Capital Football’s Men’s and Boy’s competition review. The review, which incorporates the NPL, Capital League, State League and Junior leagues aims to provide the most enjoyable, attractive and affordable sporting competitions for boys and Men in the ACT and surrounding region.

It also aims to create the most attractive and highest quality NPL competition in the country. The outcome of the review, which is due for completion in June this year, will be applied from the 2018 winter season.

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As someone who had his cousin playing in the first Canberra City team in the National (Philips) Soccer League in 1977, and whose uncle coached local soccer in the 1970s and ’80s, this news is a blow but I wonder if there might be a silver lining.

Before centres of excellence, sporting teams were more a part of the local community than they are now. In the 1980s I trained with several Raiders players at gyms in Canberra. Some came down here to work on building New Parliament House, others came from Queensland and country areas to play with the Raiders. No isolated Raiders HQ and gym in Bruce, off-limits to the public, the players worked and played with us. I remember them in the gym working in with us on the bench press, dumbbell curls and the other exercises. Some even came around to our family gatherings. Now we don’t have that contact with local players.

If the closure of the centre of excellence means that we have more grassroots involvement with the games and players, that might be a good thing.

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