A new era for football is underway on the NSW north coast with the ceremonial opening of new synthetic pitches at the Coffs Football Centre in Coffs Harbour today.
Since January, clubs on the north coast have been using the pitches for play and training in various competitions.
Football is the anchor tenant of the facility and its biggest user. It is planning to use the facility all year round in numerous formats.
The building next to the two synthetic pitches will also become the new home of North Coast Football (NCF), the governing body for football in the region.
Football is the biggest sport on the NSW north coast, with more participants than all other similar sports combined. It has the greatest potential to grow, particularly in female football, where the number of girls and women playing is increasing steadily.
Since the $12 million facility became available in January 2022, NCF and clubs have used the facility for:
- Australia Cup matches
- Coastal Premier League Men matches
- Coastal Premier League Men Super Round
- Coastal League One Women matches
- National Premier League Youth matches and training
- Skills Acquisition Phase Program training
- Club matches
- Coffs Football 6s
- School holiday clinics
In May, NCF commenced Coffs Football 6s with six-a-side competitions on smaller pitches four nights a week. Competitions for people of all ages are underway, with around 200 participants. More competitions will be offered in winter, spring and summer in more formats.
The availability of the facility heralds a new era for the games, making football an all-year-round sport on the Coffs Coast. Football has mainly been a winter sport.
NCF is looking to introduce other forms of the game at the Coffs Football Centre, including football for people with a disability, walking football for older people, football for preschoolers, school holiday carnivals and an academy.
The Coffs Football Centre was built by Coffs Harbour City Council using $2 million of local ratepayers’ money and $10 million from the NSW State Government.
Comments by NCF General Manager, Andrew Woodward
The new Coffs Football Centre facility enables us to appeal to more people all year round.
Football is already the biggest sport on the north coast, and this facility will help make it even bigger.
We’re excited at the prospect of being able to bring more people into the game.
It really is a game-changer. We can offer football for all ages, styles and abilities in a fantastic central location.
This year, the new synthetic pitches have proved invaluable, with record rainfall leaving many grass pitches unplayable.
We’ve been able to play some matches, which is many more than other parts of the state.
Our new Coffs Football 6s is off to a solid start, and we’re looking to expand this rapidly over the spring and summer with competitive and social competitions.
Coffs Football 6s is bringing new people into the games, particularly those that work at weekends.
We want to make the new Coffs Football Centre the centrepiece of football on the NSW north coast – offering play, development and education.
We also want to use the new Coffs Football Centre as an example to government of the need for more synthetic pitches on the north coast.
We’re in for more extreme wet and dry weather with the changing climate. Synthetic pitches are a part of the answer to ensure that the game flourishes in all conditions in the years ahead.