Community approach key

YOUNG TALENT: Attacker Josh MacDonald was a Wolves junior and returned to the club midway through last season. Picture: ROBERT PEET

YOUNG TALENT: Attacker Josh MacDonald was a Wolves junior and returned to the club midway through last season. Picture: ROBERT PEET

A ‘Free Festival of Football’ event to be held Nowra in January is the first of several new community-based initiatives to be unveiled by the Wollongong Wolves in the coming months.

Wolves chief executive Chris Papakosmas confirmed there remains a number of projects in the pipeline as the club ramps up preparation for a crucial NSW NPL Men’s 1 season. 

“The [Festival of Football] is simply first step of a whole lot of initiatives on the field and off the field that will target the whole community, both male and female, but particularly the juniors,” he said.

We understand that the Shoalhaven has a huge football presence – Chris Papakosmas

“It will provide [juniors] opportunities for fun and learning through football but also lessons where we can to show them what is available and different pathways, particularly through education.”

The first new pre-season initiative, the Festival of Football, will be staged from January 28-29 at Ison Park, South Nowra. 

It will see both the Wolves and NSW NPL Women’s 1 team Illawarra Stingrays travel to the Shoalhaven to participate in a range of training and coaching drills as well as trial matches.

Canberra-based Belconnen United will participate in the weekend.

They will face the Wollongong’s under-20’s, first grade and Stingrays first grade in three trial matches on Sunday afternoon.

Papakosmas said Shoalhaven District Football Association and Shoalhaven Council have both showed their support for the free event and he was pleased elite level football could be on show in the South Coast region. 

“The whole point of an initiatives like this is to spread the game as far as we can,” he said.

“We understand that the Shoalhaven has a huge football presence and we also know it is a big holiday spot at that time of year.

“We had a gap in our pre-season where we could have taken the game down there which is something we are really, really focused on for 2017 in particular.

“We have come to an agreement with the Stingrays and Belconnen United with similar aims in promoting the game.”

Meanwhile, the NSW NPL Men’s regular season draw for 2017 was released last week. The Wolves will face-off against Parramatta at Melita Stadium in the opening round on March 11.

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