The Nepean Football Association is proving football is a game for all, with the introduction of a new Over-30s women's and Over-45s men's leagues in 2019.
The introduction of the new competition comes after a surge in participation from younger women, as well as women who have played the game for years looking for a suitable competition to continue their playing careers.
There is also an increasing demand, from older men looking to stay involved in the game, for a more accessible competition.
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Nepean Football Association General Manager Linda Cerone, fresh off being awarded Football Federation Australia's Female Football Administrator of the Year in 2018, said the new competitions would help to increase the participation rate in the region.
“The over-30s women’s competition is to be played on a Friday night. We’re hoping that by freeing up weekends our Over 30’s Female players will flock to this new opportunity,” she said.
“We will also be offering an over-45 men’s competition on Saturday afternoons, a breakaway from the traditional Sunday format for our over-45 male members.”
The over-30s women's competition is seen as another way of continuing to grow the women's game in the Nepean area, building on the association’s work under Cerone's guidance.
“In 2018 we developed a Female Football Standing Committee to review the status of Female Football in the Nepean District, to bring ideas to the Directors on how to improve all aspects of football for female participants and officials,” she said.
“So, the Association will be holding a Come & Try day on February 16, where females new to the game (either as players, coaches, officials or referees) can come to venues in the Penrith, Blue Mountains or Hawkesbury area and have a go via our skill sessions or mini games, ask questions or just watch. (Location information will be on the website at the end of January.)
“It will also be an opportunity for existing female players to Bring a Friend that they’d like to introduce to our game.”
Ms Cerone said the association was looking to add more referees to its ranks, building on the solid recruitment and development work done in the last few seasons.
“Our referees enjoy a brilliant working relationship with the Association, and we support them 100 per cent in their bid to increase numbers and skills,” she said.
“We have eight Level 4 courses, two Level 3 courses and one Level 2 course planned for 2019.”