THE release of the fixture for the upcoming knockout Solo Cup has given Coffs Harbour two great weekends of soccer action.
All 10 of the opening round matches for the Northern Pool which includes the local North Coast Football (NCF) competition will be played at BCU International Stadium on March 26 while all of the quarter- and semi-finals will be played on the weekend of July 16 and 17.
“It’s quite a good draw with 10 games all being played on the one day,” an excited NCF operations manager Bob Harris said.
This year seven NCF teams have entered hoping to earn a share of the prizemoney that is once again up for grabs.
Harris is thrilled that so many Premier League teams have put up their hand to take on clubs from all around the Northern NSW region.
“It’s good to see us judge our standard against other teams from the different zones,” he said.
“It’s a really good opportunity for our players to again show what they can do.”
Last year was the first time Northern NSW Football held the knockout competition which had a total prize pool of $10,000.
Local teams performed very well proving North Coast Football as the strongest competition outside of Newcastle in the region.
“Our teams did exceptionally well last year with three of them making it into quarter-finals as one of the last eight teams standing,” Harris said.
“All three did extremely well but fitness probably went against them in the end as they were playing against semi-professional players from the Newcastle State League.
“Hopefully this year the teams can go at least one better and get to the semi-finals.
“Last year those teams that made it through to the quarter-finals covered their costs and made a bit extra with the prizemoney they won.”
Harris added, though, the competition is about more than clubs trying to make a few extra dollars.
“It’s a chance to play against some teams that you wouldn’t have played against in the past,” he said.
“Clubs can now measure themselves against those from other zones as well as the very best in the Newcastle State League.
“It gives a bit of variety to the season as well.
“Instead of playing the same nine teams at home and away during the North Coast Football season it’s really nice to go outside of our geographical boundaries and play.”
SOLO CUP DRAW
First round matches played at BCU International Stadium on March 26
Coffs Coast Tigers v Byron Bay Rams
Urunga v Lismore Workers
Sawtell v Goonellabah
Coffs United v Port United
Northern Storm v Club Taree
Maclean v Tuncurry Forster
Westlawn Tigers v Kempsey Saints