Team goal clinched much earlier than anticipated

  5 August 2014   Hutt News   Senior News
Team goal clinched much earlier than anticipated

Just weeks after launching a strategic plan to boost its ranks of female players, Petone Football Club has already scored one of their key milestones.


Club chairman Craig Deadman said one of the plan's goals was for their top women's side to gain promotion to the premier league by the end of next season. But the players are ahead of schedule - they've done it already.


Team manager Jodie Agent said a win against Island Bay the previous weekend, and the results of other games last weekend, saw them secure promotion from division 1 at the top of the points table, without even needing Sunday's victory against Tawa, 2-1.


Western Suburbs will also join them in Premier next season.


Deadman said Petone had a proud record in women's football, but that had slipped a little in the last year or two.


With the NZ Football Ferns performing very well on the international stage, and a surge of interest from girls since Capital Football introduced regional girls-only grades three seasons ago, the Petone club is determined to boost its playing ranks.


Of about 500 junior players, Petone fields three girls' sides and also has girls in mixed teams. But it wants more.


Further up the playing ranks, the results are coming.


The club's second side has also just secured promotion from Women's 3 to Women's 2.


To boost squad depth, the club is "aligning itself more closely" with colleges, trying to identify talent within and outside the club earlier, and has started elite training for 12-14 year-olds "who in three or four years we hope will be in our team playing in Central League".


Deadman says critical to their plans was Tall Poppy Real Estate coming on board with "significant sponsorship".


Although the aim is boosting squad depth and eventually getting a team in the Central League, "we definitely won't be losing sight of the social appeal [of playing football]".


"The family spirit and social sides aspects of football have always been important at Petone", he says.