New zone to include Tweed

SOCCER on the Far North Coast is undergoing major change with the merging of the region's administrations and the establishment of a new Football Zone.

Soccer Far North Coast and Tweed District Soccer Association each have a long and proud history, and in the past have been members of the Tweed-Richmond Branch.

But as the Frank Lowy led restructure of the game in Australia gathers pace, history, it seems, has counted for little and soccer associations across Australia have been merged, all the way from grass roots to the much-vaunted and now resurgent A-League.

A new zone management committee was formed in July when the previous Soccer Far North Coast association board joined with Tweed representatives Joe Scholl and Ralph Van de Scheur.

"The new zone management team was brought about through the adoption of a new constitution by our governing body, Northern NSW Soccer," Soccer FNC president Michael Gaertner said.

Soccer FNC has more than 6500 registered players and 250 teams competing each weekend.

Northern Rivers Football is the likely new name for the combined soccer administration.

Soccer FNC general manager Matt Kelso believes little will change for Tweed clubs.

"We have endeavoured to provide our existing members the opportunity to play in either a zone-wide competition or in a geographical-based league," he said.

"This structure caters for the serious competitive player and the social player.

"We don't see any major change to this when the new zone takes control.

"Tweed junior teams from ages 10 to 17 will have the option of playing in a geographical pool if they wish to play for social reasons or in a zone-wide first division for a more serious approach."

Younger players, from Grade 6 to Grade 9, will continue to play in a local competition based on the existing clubs in the area.

Kelso believes ambitious Tweed senior clubs will benefit most.

"We will provide the same opportunities to senior teams as we do for juniors with a geographical-based league structured around the existing Tweed senior competitions for both men and women," he said.

"We don't expect teams to travel to the far end of the zone to get a game on the weekend unless their desire is to reach a higher level.

"If clubs want to play in the Tursa Premier League, men's first division or Southern Cross Credit Union Women's Premier League, they will have to travel.

"For an ambitious club, the first step will be to enter the men's first division and gain promotion into the Premier League, a scenario we encourage and look forward to."

An information night will be held at the Tumbulgum Soccer Club on Wednesday, September 21, starting at 7pm.

Inquiries to Matt Kelso on 66215593 or 0438-215593 or Joe Scholl on 0419-281721.

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