North Coast Football today released details of its plans for 2022, saying the year will herald a new era for football on the north coast.
Six-a-side competitions are planned for the new $12 million synthetic pitches in Coffs Harbour while youth and adult teams could have their chance to test their skills against teams from across northern NSW in a new FIFA World Cup style Country Club Shield.
The new competitions and tournaments come on top of expanded Coastal Premier League and National Premier League competitions in 2022. The new competitions complement the existing community football programs that saw over 5,000 players from 25 clubs play in over 300 teams during the 2021 winter.
The rapid expansion of the game on the north coast follows a six per cent increase in player numbers in 2021, confirming football as the biggest team sport on the NSW north coast.
Comments by Andrew Woodward, General Manager, North Coast Football
The new year heralds a new era for football on the north coast. We go from being a winter sport to an all-year-round sport.
In our traditional forms of the game, we’ll be offering more and expanded football. We’re also introducing six-a-side football for players of all ages on the north coast. The new synthetic pitches and associated facilities are simply spectacular. We can’t wait to use them for six-a-side
We’re expecting to see many more girls and women join our ranks in 2022, generated by interest in the Matildas and the FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Football will be boosted by the FIFA 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year, with high hopes for Australia to qualify for its fifth tournament in a row.
It’s also expected that the A-Leagues will be welcomed back to Coffs Harbour in 2022. All in all, we have a bumper two years coming up in football on the north coast and Australia as a whole.
With the availability of two new synthetic pitches at the new $12 million facility at Coffs Sport and Leisure Park, NCF has begun planning to introduce six-a-side football in 2022. NCF will offer two consecutive competitions of approximately 20 weeks each in 2022. Dates, ages and other arrangements will be finalised once Coffs Harbour City Council confirms the opening date and facility availability. NCF is looking to announce the new formats and competitions toward the end of January with a view to commencing competition in April following a test event in March.
Country Club Shield
NCF, in conjunction with Northern NSW Football and other zones north of Newcastle, is considering the establishment of the Northern NSW Country Club Shield. The tournament proceeding depends on interest from clubs. The Shield would be available for teams in 13, 14, 15, 16, Senior men and senior women (excluding Premier Leagues – Coastal, National and others). Clubs would nominate teams to compete in each division. Participation is by application and not compulsory. The competition would be similar to the FIFA World Cups format, with pools of four teams competing in three rounds and semi-finals in four different cities (Coffs, Port, Lismore, Tamworth/Grafton) before grand finals in Coffs on Saturday 8 July 2022. The Shield is an opportunity for clubs to test themselves against teams from other zones at a minimal cost. NCF and Football Mid-North Coast have sought expressions of interest from clubs in their respective zones, and if there’s sufficient interest, the proposal will be refined and offered to all clubs in both zones as well as Northern Inland Football and Football Far North Coast zones. More information: Link.
NCF has released its season plan for 2022. The key features are:
- Community Football: Community football commences on the first weekend of April and has 18 scheduled match weeks before finals begin in early September.
- Coastal Premier League: CPL also commences on the first weekend of September and runs for 22 rounds with no weekend breaks and no midweek matches, as requested by clubs. Midweek matches may occur to cover postponements caused by washouts, heat, smoke or Public Health Orders.
- National Premier League Youth: NPL starts a week earlier and finishes a week later with the addition of a new team in Newcastle, creating two more matches. It begins in early March and runs over 26 match weeks before finals at the end of September. It’s also planned for the NCF Player Development Program (NPL and Skill Acquisition Phase Programs) to utilise the new synthetics for matches and training. NCF is awaiting confirmation from Coffs Harbour City Council on this request.
- Six-a-side football: The new six-a-side will have two competitions in 2022. It is planned to run two competitions next year, one after the other and in various age divisions. NCF is awaiting confirmation from Coffs Harbour City Council on venue availability for this proposal.
- FFA Cup: All but one north conference FFA Cup match will be played before the CPL season commences at the start of April. Clubs put forward the schedule to manage the availability of players during the CPL season.
- Country Club Shield (Proposed): This starts at the end of March with group matches and semi-finals in four or five cities over the following three months. The grand finals would be in Coffs Harbour on the second Saturday in July.
Annual Report (Download: Link)
NCF has released its Annual Report for the financial and football year 2021. It was the biggest year ever for NCF with 5,253 players, registrations outstripping the previous best (2016):
- NCF was the equal best performing zone in the federation for 2021 registrations (NCF tied with Hunter Valley), with a six per cent increase on 2019.
- NCF performed better than the federation as a whole (one per cent drop on 2019).
- NCF outperformed neighbouring zones compared to 2019 (mid-north coast down two per cent, far north coast down one per cent and northern inland down three per cent).
- Social media interest on major platforms for community football and CPL approximately doubled compared to 2020.
North Coast Football team (left to right): Alex Nolan (Player and Coach Development Manager), Ros Linsley (Community Football Coordinator), Andrew Woodward (General Manager) and David Wigley (Sixes Football Project Manager) visit the new synthetic pitches in Coffs Harbour.