Chance to hone football skills

NORTH Coast Football is still in business mode despite 2011 competition grand finals being completed.

Activities for the school holidays include a four-day skills clinic for girls and boys aged 7-13 years at Coffs Harbour's York Street complex from next Tuesday.

Also, over the long weekend (this Saturday and Sunday) a C-licence coaching course will be conducted after the one set down for July was postponed.

But the big ticket item is the Westfield FFA National Youth Championships for boys being held at BCU International Stadium from next Monday.

The tournament brings together the best junior talent from every football state and territory in the under-13 and 14 years age groups and provides a showcase for talent scouts and club recruiters looking for the next champion.

For the first time the host Northern NSW teams will be split into Metropolitan (Hunter-Newcastle) and Country (Mid North, North and Far North Coast zones) so that more youngsters will have the opportunity to be considered for bigger things.

NCF football manager Richard Evans is thrilled boys from local pitches will have greater exposure but warns not to expect miracles too early.

"Obviously this will be a learning curve for all concerned," he said.

"For most kids it will be one big culture shock coming up against the very best from all parts of Australia and vastly different to what they experience in club matches.

"However, they will certainly enjoy it and learn a lot and sometimes the luck of the draw can be a big help."

To be coached by Vic Stokes and assistant Howard Stubbs, the NNSW Country 14-years team will include North Coast players Harry Atherton, Judd Duncan, Nick Mallet and Sheldon O'Loughlin. Their first-up opponent on Monday is Football Tasmania at 11.50am.

The under-13s include local players Kye Duncan and Trent Stack and they also play the visitors from the Apple Isle at 10.25am Monday. The team head coach is Andy Lennon.

These championships are often acclaimed as the best sporting event held in Coffs Harbour each year and the public is welcome to attend on any day.

The state championships for 12- and 14-year girls wrapped up at the same venue on the weekend with North Coast finishing fourth behind Newcastle in both age groups.

Meanwhile, the Zone championships for junior teams where the minor premiers from Coffs region play their counterpart from the Clarence took place on the weekend with winners considered the best in their age group.

NCF Zone Championships

12 boys - Woolgoolga Dolphins 3 d Westlawn Tigers 0

13 boys - Urunga Raiders 4 d Westlawn Tigers 1

14 boys - Maclean Bobcats 5 d Nambucca Heads Strikers 3

16 boys - Maclean Bobcats 2 d Woolgoolga Dolphins 1

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