MAJOS football club and South Services Gunners Soccer Club are combining to bring life back into a junior football carnival at Rushforth Park this Sunday.
Almost 80 teams from around the region have nominated for the gala day and the clubs are busy preparing for the 780 players who will descend on the pitches at South Grafton.
The carnival hasn't been held since 2008 due to lack of interest, but the huge list of nominations shows that football is alive and well on the North Coast according to Kevin Comerford of Majos FC.
"We have teams coming from Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Casino, Alstonville and Ballina as well as big entries from the local clubs like Yamba, Westlawn, City, Majos and South Services," Comerford said.
"There will be games on all 10 pitches from 8.30am until 4pm, so it will be a big, big day of football."
The fresh format of the carnival has also created plenty of interest with age groups from under-10s to under-16s playing nine-a-side competitive football.
The younger age-groups, starting at under-6s, will play a non-competitive round-robin on small sided fields with only five players per side. "We found that playing with the full 11 players meant that a lot of teams were left short on the day due to late withdrawals," Comerford said.
"So just playing nine-a-side allows all teams to nominate and have a couple of reserves even with a bare minimum of players.
"We only play the older games on a half field too, and it is run similar to the Supa Oldies Soccer format which has been so successful in Grafton."
The day is also the major fundraiser for both host clubs and they are hoping for great winter weather so everyone can enjoy the full carnival atmosphere which includes jumping castles, face painting, slushies as well as barbecue and canteen facilities.
Aside from the fun and community benefits from the carnival, football as a sport is also hopeful of a positive from the day.
"I've already had an email from the Yamba club this morning that basically says they are hoping the carnival will generate greater participation in future years when the kids go home and tell their friends about the great carnival day," Comerford said.
FOOTBALL CARNIVAL DETAILS
WHERE: Rushforth Park
WHEN: Sunday 8:30-4pm
WHO: 77 teams from around region, made up of 780 players.
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