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Capital Football launches junior season as A-League bid ramps up

Capital Football bosses will meet with Canberra's A-League bid officials within the next week in an attempt to "harness" existing soccer relationships and a supporter base from the 30,000 registered players in the city.

The FFA has called for expressions of interest for an A-League expansion licence to be submitted by May 24 and Canberra's bid will need to address financial capacity, a vision and an understanding of the capital's existing soccer community.

Capital Football boasts the highest participation numbers for sport in Canberra, with more than 12,000 juniors registered to play in competitions this year.

Capital Football chief executive Phil Brown pointed to the growth of female soccer after Canberra United joined the W-League as an example of the impact an A-League team could have in the capital.

"I think we'd all aspire for an A-League team here in Canberra ... History has shown by having Canberra United in the W-League that we've had one of the strongest ratios of female to male players," Brown said.

"That [can be attributed] to the aspirational pathway and the role models [junior players] have locally. If we can support the introduction of an [A-League] team I think the same would be seen for the boys.


"We're due to meet with any of the potential bidders next week ... it's about leveraging the connections we have in the sport and to harness the spectator base they would rely on for their commercial activities. We can facilitate and connect."

The Canberra A-League bid. led by businessman Jeff Williamson, has already started building on established relationships to individual clubs, the ACT government and is keen to work with Capital Football to explore more opportunities.

The FFA will finalise a shortlist of bidders in June and make a decision on the two successful expansion teams by the end of October.

Capital Football launched its junior competitions on Tuesday, with Brown saying the organisation is targeting a 50-50 male and female player ratio in the coming years.

Female teams have grown in past seasons and there is now a 30 per cent female representation in the 12,000 juniors.

"It's one of the highest rates of female players in the country, and we'd like to see it get to 50-50 over time," Brown said.

"That's something we're working to achieve but 30 per cent is still strong and a good base to build from."

Capital Football has frozen the cost of registration fees for the second consecutive year and has signed ActewAGL as a major sponsor for the 15th year in a row.

"I was there when we first negotiated the inaugural agreement back in 2003 so to have 15 years with Capital Football ... it's pretty special," said ActewAGL director of corporate affairs Paul Walshe.

"It's about grassroots and giving kids opportunities. It's not just young boys, but girls as well and it's great to see there's an increase of female participation this year. It just makes you feel good."

The junior soccer season will start on May 5, with four new clubs to join the competitions.