Mackay/Whit­sun­day gets new NPL team

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

SOC­CER: Fu­ture soc­cer stars in the Whit­sun­days will no longer have to travel to Townsville and Bris­bane to play in a na­tional qual­ity league.

Mackay’s bid for a Na­tional Pre­mier League li­cence has been successful.

Mackay and Whit­sun­days Mag­pies Cru­saders United, a joint ven­ture be­tween two clubs, will be one of two new­com­ers to a beefed-up NPL Queens­land from 2018.

Whit­sun­day Foot­ball Club pres­i­dent Steve Tween said it would open the door for young tal­ent to progress and be iden­ti­fied lo­cally.

“We are very happy that Mackay has a li­cense in the area,” he said.

“It’s a proven path­way for the ju­nior play­ers who want a higher level to go.

“The kids play­ing NPL foot­ball, when Bris­bane coaches come up, there’s an op­por­tu­nity for the young tal­ent to be seen.”

It will mark the first time in five years, since the Mackay Min­ers folded, that there will be an NPL team in the Whit­sun­day re­gion.

Cru­saders tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Dar­ryl Cash said more than 70 lo­cal play­ers would ben­e­fit from the ex­pan­sion in the first year.

“We’re hop­ing that the team will be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of both the Mackay and Whit­sun­day re­gions and in­clude some re­ally ex­cit­ing lo­cal tal­ent,” Cash said.

The se­lec­tion process for Cru­saders United will be fi­nalised by the end of the year, in­clud­ing all coach­ing po­si­tions. Se­lec­tion tri­als are likely to be­gin in Oc­to­ber.

PHOTO: ALI­SON LANGEVAD

TIGHT CON­TEST: WFC Pre­mier Men's player Kurt Ash­ley in ac­tion against Lions on Satur­day night at the Whit­sun­day Sportspark.

PHOTO: ALI­SON LANGEVAD

NEW ERA: Jimmy Farrell in ac­tion for WFC.

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