World game ar­rives

Soccer fever, and about 600 play­ers, take over Lai­d­ley

Gatton Star - - SPORT - Do­minic El­some do­minic.el­some@gat­ton­star.com.au

SOCCER: Lai­d­ley be­came soccer cen­tral at the week­end as close to 600 chil­dren took over the recre­ation fields.

Lai­d­ley Soccer Club’s 2019 car­ni­val at­tracted 19 clubs from across south­east Queens­land, with 62 teams go­ing head to head on Sun­day.

Pres­i­dent Michael Black­wood said the day had been a huge suc­cess for the club.

“There were a few speed bumps at the start but other than that we got over it and all the volunteers got into it and I think it went pretty well,” Black­wood said.

“Re­sponse from all clubs has been ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic and we pulled it off pretty well.”

Games were played through out the day, with 15-minute halves mak­ing for fast-paced foot­ball, and a lot of fun for the play­ers.

The Lock­yer Val­ley was well rep­re­sented, with Gatton Red­backs and Lai­d­ley both com­pet­ing with mul­ti­ple teams.

Other clubs came from as far as Kin­garoy, War­wick and Al­bany Creek to take part in the day.

Black­wood said the melt­ing pot of teams meant play­ers would be ex­posed to new skills and tac­tics, and it would be a ben­e­fit for them.

“To bring in pretty much all of south­east Queens­land for the Toowoomba teams to play — you can’t put a price on that. It’s just un­real,” he said.

“Toowoomba is great, it’s got this skill level that it’s at, but then Bris­bane and Ipswich and Lo­gan bring an­other level up again.

“While the kids might get a lit­tle bit down­hearted that they might not win, what they come out of it with at the end (is im­por­tant) — to see what else they can be do­ing, and for the coaches too, they can see dif­fer­ent things they can pick up on.”

With an army of play­ers, coaches and sup­port­ers to feed and or­gan­ise, Black­wood said the day wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out the ded­i­cated sup­port from the club’s com­mit­tee and volunteers.

“It def­i­nitely took tons of work from all the com­mit­tee, and a big per­son be­hind the scenes was Pam War­dle,” he said.

“All the com­mit­tee, all the teams, volunteers, the men’s team and vis­it­ing coaches and man­agers con­trib­uted too.”

It wasn’t just the play­ers pick­ing up new skills on the day, with six young ref­er­ees us­ing the car­ni­val to com­plete their Level 4 re­quire­ments as ju­nior ref­er­ees.

Black­wood said the car­ni­val was an im­por­tant event for the lo­cal club.

“We’re not the big­gest club but to have that once a year — where it seems to be the soccer world con­verges here — it’s just un­real,” he said.

“I’m hop­ing to town ben­e­fited from it — that was a big push to­wards the end when we re­alised the num­bers.”

While Sun­day’s car­ni­val may have only just wrapped up, Black­wood is al­ready think­ing about next year’s and he isn’t rul­ing out go­ing even big­ger.

“There are al­ways plans to go big­ger,” he said.

“If we can make it big­ger and keep th­ese out­side towns com­ing in — can’t say no.”

PHOTO: DO­MINIC EL­SOME

LIN­ING UP A SHOT: Lai­d­ley Soccer Club hosted its an­nual car­ni­val on Sun­day, with close to 600 play­ers tak­ing to the fields.

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