PLAYER DEVELOPMENT: Southern Downs Football Academy members (front, from left) Ethan McConville, Pat Dromgold, Paige Bain, Denika Murray, Caity McMahon, Mel Reedy, Tika Deighton, (back) Jakob Butler, Maddy Goodwin, Harry McMahon, Declan Clegg, Ella Briggs and Jesse Holley.
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT: Southern Downs Football Academy members (front, from left) Ethan McConville, Pat Dromgold, Paige Bain, Denika Murray, Caity McMahon, Mel Reedy, Tika Deighton, (back) Jakob Butler, Maddy Goodwin, Harry McMahon, Declan Clegg, Ella Briggs and Jesse Holley. Contributed

Great expectations for Southern Downs football academy

FOOTBALL: The season may be over but the Southern Downs Football Academy is so keen to get a jump on the 2019 season, players will be training throughout summer.

The academy, which fielded five teams in the Toowoomba junior competition this year, hopes to have seven in 2019. Teams played under the banner of USQFC and Withcott.

The academy expects to have six boys' teams and a girls' under U15B team next year.

Academy coaching director Tim Gaske said 90 children were involved in twice-weekly training during the season, including those who played in the Toowoomba competition.

"We had 25 players in the Warwick District Football Association competition across all age groups,” Gaske said.

"The academy is a training provider and we give players an opportunity to play in whatever competition they choose.

"During the season, the academy took teams to carnivals in the southwest region, as well as Toowoomba and the Gold Coast,” he said.

"We have nominated an U13 boys' team to play in a carnival at Hervey Bay during the September/October school holidays under the coaching of Tony Oloman.

Gaske said, other than the school holidays, training with the Southern Downs Academy would continue on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at Queens Park.

"We are giving prospective players from any club or association a chance to attend six weeks of come-and-try training free of charge at Queens Park,” he said.

"The academy has seven qualified coaches and USQ technical director Matt Proctor will travel once or twice a month to assist in the development of our own coaches.

"Coaching starts with work on the core skills which include running with the ball, passing, one versus one and first touch with work on game play in older age groups.

"We are keen to help players reach their potential, whether in Warwick or Toowoomba competitions or see them develop to National Premier League level with South West Thunder or Western Pride.

"The Western Pride franchise, from Ipswich, is aiming to secure an A-League spot one day which would give more opportunities for players in the western corridor.”

Players, aged 5-17 years, are involved in Southern Downs Football Academy. Email southerndownsfa@gmail.com for information.



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