Hammers' Fraser Coast visit to open door to elite football
JUNIOR footballers are going to be spoilt for choice by an array of football academies.
English Premier League giants West Ham United's International Academy is set to run a two-day clinic at Maryborough on July 9-10.
That will be followed by Brisbane's successful Roar Active Program, with camps to be held in Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg in early September.
They come on the back of the hugely successful Harry Kewell Soccer Academy which visited the Wide Bay earlier this year.
Wide Bay Football president Stuart Taylor championed the coup, and said the camps' willingness to visit the region helped establish a better pathway to the top.
Taylor said the response to the Hammers' visit was overwhelming, with more than 60 players registered.
"When I was talking to the manager of West Ham International Academy he said they'd run it if we got 60, and they'd look at getting everyone back in future years," Taylor said.
"We're currently four weeks out and have 66 registrations.
"It just goes to show the desire for people to improve their football skills."
The career possibilities associated with West Ham United Academy should not be underestimated.
Participants, aged between eight and 17 years, could be selected to attend West Ham's Oceanic Academy National Residential Camp at the Gold Coast later this year.
That opportunity opens the door to trials and camps at the Hammers' London home.
Roar Active is aimed at five- to 14-year-olds, and is a program run by the A-League club to raise the standard of football in regional Queensland.
The longer-term goal is to not only provide a pathway to higher levels of competition, but to help Wide Bay footballers reach national positions on and off the field.
"We want to provide opportunities for anybody of any background to play for Australia," Taylor said.
"We could have kids who aspire to be the best, or we could have the greatest sporting administrators falling in love with the game.
"There's more than one career goal in football and we want to ignite that fire."
SOME of the best schoolboy footballers will leave for their shot at the state titles today.
Players from Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Gympie and Bundaberg will represent Wide Bay at the Queensland School Sport 16-19 years Boys and Girls Football Championships.
The teams trained at Aldridge High yesterday, and will today travel to Maroochydore where they will play games from Thursday until Sunday.
A state team will be selected at the end of the competition.
West Ham United Academy
When: July 9-10
More: www.elite elevenfootball.com.au
Roar Active Program
When: September 8-10
Where: Maryborough, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg