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Soccer season kicks off

Friday, 29th April, 2011

SOCCER’S BACK: St Joes and Wests in action during last year’s A Grade Men’s Grand Final. SOCCER’S BACK: St Joes and Wests in action during last year’s A Grade Men’s Grand Final.

After a six month hiatus, soccer officially kicks off its season at the O'Neill Sporting Complex tonight.

Following a very successful 2010 season, Friday nights are here to stay with good playing numbers and plenty of casual observers checking out the talent. 

It also gives plenty of Aussie Rules juniors the chance to play both codes. 

The night starts with the Under 14s at 6pm followed by the Under 17s at 7.30pm.

Saturday mornings see the under 6s take centre stage at 9.30am. Player numbers have doubled this year for the under 6s so all four pitches will be used on the top oval. Families are welcome to bring their chair to get close to the action (the coffee tent will be back).

The 7s kick off at 10.10 with the under 8s at 11am. The under 10s have big numbers this year and will play on both the top and bottom fields as will the Under 12s who, with 6 teams nominated, will have two games at 1pm and the 3rd game at 2.10pm. 

Parents are encouraged to assist their coaches and team leaders by arriving at least 15 minutes early. All players must have completed a BHSA Registration form and wear shin pads.

On the senior front it's steady as she goes out West way with Club stalwart George Bugeja again expected to be in charge of all three senior West teams. Whilst a couple of players were not seen during the trials West always have great depth in their men's teams, and with exciting juniors Zac Gilmour, Jack Roberts,

Nathan Ali, Bryant Mitchell and Cameron Kaye the West stranglehold on the silverware could well continue.

It's a similar story for the West Ladies with solid numbers during the trial games including an exciting mix of young players from the 17s. 

Taylor McAvaney looks set for a big year after scoring six against Alma whilst any team with Jasmine Mitchell and Stacee Carter-Ray on the park will always be competitive. 

There's been a few exciting changes to coaching staff at Alma Soccer Club this year. Warren Sloane will be coaching the A-Grade men's side, with assistance from William Hebbard. Warren, or Manno as he's better known, has had a long association with Alma. He's been assistant coach for the B-grade side, as well as

A-grade occasionally, for some years now.

The club is very pleased to have him playing such a prominent role. Alma is welcoming back all their regular players, as well as a few new faces for the 2011 season, some travelling in from right around the region to play for the club in Broken Hill.

Much will depend on the form of Laurence and William Hebbard in defence and the speed of Daniel McInerney, Sam Lines and Codey Ralph. The loss of Hayden Lyall to university will see Thomas Barlow move to goal keeper, a role that he more than capable of performing.

Robert Sloane has taken over the women's team. He brings with him plenty of enthusiasm and experience on the sporting field, though he's new to coaching soccer. The club is looking forward to a strong season from the women's side with Robert at the helm. The Alma squad has a big group of young girls, some travelling in from Menindee each week, which is fantastic for the code. 

The Alma committee is always looking for new members. Anyone is welcome to attend their meetings at 7pm on the first Monday of each month, at 266 Wills Street.

Celtic has been searching for an A grade coach in the media recently and this may impact on their start to season 2011. Celtic has some very dedicated workers within its Club, none more so that President Marg Symes, but with such huge numbers in its junior teams all the work seems to be falling on too few.

Celtic have two teams in the under 17s competition and will need most of these players to double up on Sunday's in either A or B grade for Celtic to field teams.

The loss of Trent Howe to university is a blow and with Samuel Walker also returning home with his family the next crop of 15 and 16 year olds will need to fly the Celtic flag. The recent transfer of Paul Francis to West will also add to Celtics player shortage. The Celtic ladies, fresh from scooping all the silverware in 2010, have some huge gaps in their team to fill. On top of losing the Walker trio, Katrina and daughters Annabelle and Millicent, Celtic may also need a new striker with Elle Gepp not seen during the trials. Celtic still have a core groups of experienced players led by Jacqui Passlow, Amee Hogarth, Jo Smith, Rachael Wheatley, Sophie Milne and Narelle Crabb. 

St Josephs have new Coaches for all three grades for 2011. Long serving Blue, George Callegher, moves up from assistant coach, after 2010 coach Dave Bearman chose to return to Aussie Rules coaching. Grant Smith steps up to the position of assistant coach. B grade sees Nathan Gageler take over the reins from Ray Christos, whilst St Josephs welcome Scott Shephard as ladies coach for 2011. Shephard is recovering from a season ending knee injury in 2010 playing AFL. On the field St Josephs will need to cover the loss of both Bearman and Christos whilst Alex Pearce has ventured to Adelaide for university. On the positive side Daniel Timperio returns from a season off with knee problems whilst Steven Holmes, from Armidale, looks a quality player.

Seniors Draw Round 1 Sunday 1st May

West v Celtic B grade 11.30am, A grade 2pm, Ladies 4pm

St Joes v Alma B grade 12 noon, A grade 4pm, Ladies 2pm


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