WARRAGUL United Soccer Club president Peter O’Dea is pleased with how his club is performing having finally completed its move to the Metropolitan League at the start of the year.
Above: Warragul United Soccer Club president Peter O’Dea and secretary Paul Sheean.
This article was first published in the 11 July 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
The Seniors and Reserves teams made the switch from the Gippsland League over a decade ago, but the Women’s and junior teams only made the switch recently.
Mr O’Dea told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen the final move had been made because “we felt it was time to bring the rest of the club down [to Melbourne] with us.”
“I think it’s been the best move for the club,” Mr O’Dea said.
“We moved all our juniors and women to go into Melbourne with our seniors.
“So far our Under 14 Boys have [played] really well and our girls are up near the top of the ladder, and a couple of other junior teams are getting up there.
“The Women’s team has scored something like 58 goals for and only two against, so they’ve really gone ahead leaps and bounds this year, and they’re going to do very well this year as far as getting promotion is concerned.”
Mr O’Dea said the club had outgrown the Gippsland League.
“The Gippsland League has deteriorated a little bit, not bagging the Gippsland League either, but we as as a club thought it would be better to have all of us in together,” Mr O’Dea said.
Club secretary Paul Sheean said “that’s why we’ve been able to attract so many better Gippsland kids to come and play for Warragul.”
“They’re getting that better exposure from playing in metropolitan competitions,” Mr Sheean said.
“It has been a great move and something we didn’t know if we were going to get through, but… it’s been good,” Mr O’Dea said.
The next big challenge for the club is finding room to expand, with the present Baxter Park facility now considered too small.
“The facility itself is good here but we don’t have enough grounds to have the whole club together all the time,” Mr O’Dea said.
“The club’s looking in a positive matter (sic), the only downfall for us is the lack of extra grounds.
“We’ve got kids playing on a different area, duty of care makes it hard [and] segregates the club. It’s hard from that point of view.
“We are landlocked here and I think we have outgrown this clubroom facility as it is now. We have lobbied the council, we do have a potential new location in the pipeline, and that’s where we intend to push our soccer club out to.
“Hopefully we’ll get the four grounds and everything we need, we need it for our club to survive.”
Facilities have not been able to accommodate the growing club.
“We don’t have lady referee change rooms [and] the higher we go up in Metropolitan League the worse our conditions are,” Mr O’Dea said.
“You have to cater to stringent rules. We do have to improve or relocate to make our club prosper.”
But looking at positives with the season just over half completed, Mr O’Dea hopes many Warragul United teams will be promoted soon.
“I would like to think the seniors would hopefully get promotion into State 1, that’s one of our major aims at the moment.
“I would like to see our women get promoted from State 4 into State 3. I would also like to see our Under 14 Boys get up near the top half… of the A League.
“The highlights for the year have probably been the amount of quality we have picked up right across the board.
“We’re still up near the top two or top three clubs in State 2, which is a pretty high standard.”
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