Sutherland Shire Football Association (SSFA) is at the forefront of football in Australia. The country's biggest football association continues to go from strength to strength and will provide even more opportunities for men and women players in 2019, with excellent player development programs to help continue the region's proud footballing tradition.
The SSFA's Girls Academy is approaching a decade of existence and will be joined by a Boys Academy in 2019.
With 85 girls selected in the Girls Academy, the program has proved hugely successful in helping to drive participation of women's football in the region, providing highly specialised training and facilities for female footballers.
SSFA general manager Jeff Stewart said it was the association's uncompromising commitment to providing the region's football players with girls-only competitions and female-specific facilities and coaching which helped the association to become the envy of others when it comes to women's football.
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“We cater to the requirements of female players from U6 upwards. This includes female only grades from the youngest age through to the Women's 40s competitions,” he said. “A broad number of female players in each group increases the likelihood that girls can play with players of similar ability and desire in weekend competitions and in tailor made girls training programs being run by the SSFA and our clubs, coached by female coaches that we have trained at the SSFA and then used to support female participants at our clubs.
“We provide a pathway to representing the local association at Women's Premier League level, and all female players are provided an opportunity to develop to the best of their ability or desire.
We continue to provide players an opportunity to develop their skills, enjoy themselves and be part of a community.Jeff Stewart, Sutherland Shire Football Association general manager
“Our clubs provide a community based environment that gives the girls what they want – a sense of belonging, camaraderie, physical activity and being as competitive as they wish to be."
The SSFA has an incredible track record with female football and replicates this across the board with a wide range of footballing programs which enabled the association to attract almost 19,000 players in 2018 alone.
“We continue to provide players an opportunity to develop their skills, enjoy themselves and be part of a community – with sufficient depth of talent that mean players of a similar ability are able to play against one another,” Mr Stewart said.
“Our Academy is run by the locals, for the locals, with local skilled and FFA qualified coaches that will provide an opportunity for all players to develop at a reasonable cost. And, all profits will be invested into local football.
“These profits help to cover the general costs of running the association so that we can absorb possible future fee increases, investment in facilities and infrastructure throughout the shire, and potentially reduce fees for SSFA representative players.”