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Girls and boys at Baldivis Districts FC

Facilities hurdle a threat to club’s growth

Football West News

A community club in one of Perth’s fastest growing suburbs is facing the challenges of its own expansion.

Baldivis Districts FC began in November 2016 with 30 players. When registrations closed for 2019, club secretary Renae Fussell said they were just three short of 200.

“We have grown very, very quickly and nearly all of our players are from Baldivis,” she said.

Presently they have teams at Under 6, U7, U8, U9, U10, U12 and U13 levels, either boys, girls or both. They also have two teams in the Women’s Metro South divisions and a men’s side in the Belt Up Metro South Division Two.

“The Division Two women were trophy winners last year, which was fantastic. The first league winners from the club,” Renae said.

“We are fairly evenly matched (in registrations) for boys and girls and next year we are looking at having a girls only under 10 team because of the players we have coming through from our under 9s team. If so they will go into a girls league.

“We do take the development of the young girls very seriously and we’ve actually got a couple of players who are 14 and through permission of Football West are playing in the women’s teams, which is fantastic.

“I was watching them play the other Sunday and they are not afraid of getting in and getting the football and they have built a tremendous relationship with the older ladies on the team as well; they’ve sort of taken the younger ones under their wings. It’s a really great feeling among the team.”

Flourishing on the pitch, the club has an active 14-member committee including president and co-founder Barry Wilders. These should be good times for Baldivis Districts FC. However like many clubs, especially those with girls and women’s teams, they have facilities issues which are proving difficult to surmount.

Renae said: “We play at Tranby College Oval, it’s basically a shared lease ground with the City of Rockingham.

“We don’t have clubrooms because facilities are quite limited in the area. The closest available toilet is across the road.

“It is a shame because we are growing rapidly and I’ve already got a waiting list for the 2020 season. Our priority at the moment is trying to get a suitable home ground.”

“I understand there are limited resources within the City of Rockingham, so we are trying to explore all avenues possible.”

The biggest fear for Renae is that they could lose players. She said: “Absolutely. We have use of our training space on a Wednesday and a Friday. We’ve tried in the past but Friday has proved to be very difficult to get players along to training … it’s Friday afternoon, often families try to get away or have prior engagements on a Friday, so we mainly have training on a Wednesday.

“Trying to fit in over 150 players on to one space is proving to be very difficult, unfortunately, and as we grow we are going to run out of room just for training alone, let alone hosting home games. It does make continued expansion very difficult.”

Renae said using Baldivis South Sports Pavilion, the home of the older Baldivis Soccer Club, was not an option for her club. “There is to be a new Baldivis Sporting Complex being built and hopefully that opens up something for us, but that’s in another two to three years which still limits our growth,” she said.

On a brighter note for the club, they will be part of the pre-match march at Optus Stadium when Manchester United are in town.

“We’re one of 30 clubs invited to take part in the Manchester United versus Perth Glory opening parade. It’s fantastic, we’ve got 100 young ones and 10 officials, team coaches, who will be walking around with them,” Renae added.

“During that week the Manchester United Foundation, along with Football West and the Telethon Institute, are hosting an information session because they are looking at getting more clubs involved with the WA United League for kids with disability.

“So we have registered to go along to that session, because we’re very, very keen to come on board and diversify into that area as well. We have one young boy playing who has cochlea implants, so he just wears the approved headwear. We are looking at getting a team up and running in the United League but again, that comes down to our facilities as well.

“We are an open club and all inclusive and we want to share our love for the sport.”