Soccer reigns supreme in junior ranks in Canberra among four football codes
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Soccer reigns supreme in junior ranks in Canberra among four football codes

Soccer is the king of the kids in the ACT, with an extra 54 teams and an estimated 1000 new players set to take to the pitch this year.

The round-ball game is the leader among the four football codes in Canberra and is carrying on the momentum from the Socceroos' triumph at the Asian Cup in January.

Woden Valley FC U8 team the Rooneys, from left, Reece Harrigan 7, Lucas Carey 7, Hendrix Stanier 8, Ziggy Kewetin- Smith 7, Michael Smith 7, Marc Papandrea 6, Isaac Palywoda 7, Max Mcardle 7 and Jack Davidson 7.  Soccer has had an increase of more than 1000 kids this season with Woden Valley FC having the biggest increase.

Woden Valley FC U8 team the Rooneys, from left, Reece Harrigan 7, Lucas Carey 7, Hendrix Stanier 8, Ziggy Kewetin- Smith 7, Michael Smith 7, Marc Papandrea 6, Isaac Palywoda 7, Max Mcardle 7 and Jack Davidson 7. Soccer has had an increase of more than 1000 kids this season with Woden Valley FC having the biggest increase. Credit:Jeffrey Chan

Participation in Capital Football's junior leagues rose 10.96 per cent from 2013 to 2014 from 10,512 in 2013 to 11,655 last year.

Those numbers are expected to swell to more than 12,500 based on early registrations.

In comparison, rugby league is expected to have 4000 juniors in Canberra club competitions, rugby union will have just over 3500 and Australian football had 1960 registered juniors last year.

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Woden Valley is the biggest soccer club in terms of junior participation, with a whopping 84 teams set to take part in competitions from under-10 to under-18s.

Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid said the growth of junior numbers could be attributed to a number of different factors.

"I put it down to the men's World Cup last year, Canberra United's success in the W-League, the Asian Cup in January and high interest in football generally," Reid said.

"Our registrations at this time compared to this time last year are up 28 per cent.

"Whether that translates to final increases is yet to be seen, but most clubs are reporting significant increases and are now capping (the number of teams)."

Capital Football has also reported increased numbers in its Miniroos under-5 to under-9 age groups.

The Canberra Region Junior Rugby League had 3600 registered juniors last year, with that expecting to rise to 4000 based on registrations.

There were also close to 4000 participants in school-based competitions, with nearly 18,000 exposed to primary and high school visits by NRL development officers.

The ACT Junior Rugby Union had 3506 players in junior club rugby competitions in the ACT last year and another 3513 in junior schools and 7s competitions.

There were also about 25,000 participants in promotional activities in the ACT.

Reid said the increase in the number of junior soccer teams had seen it reach breaking point in terms of the numbers of ground available to play on.

"We're constantly talking to the ACT Government," she said.

"We have regular meetings with Minister Rattenbury and with sport and recreation staff.

"They are well aware of our issues.

"Unfortunately there are not too many spaces available for development of facilities.

"It's great we've got Woden Park back on-line as a premier venue.

"We continue to work with the Government on synthetic fields at Melrose.

"We'll also be meeting with the Chief Minister in April about the whole of sport facilities issue and a possibility as a legacy of the Asian Cup that there may be some funding available."