BOOM: Junior football ranks exploded this year, with a 10.6% increase reported across North Coast Football. PHOTO: Adam Hourigan
BOOM: Junior football ranks exploded this year, with a 10.6% increase reported across North Coast Football. PHOTO: Adam Hourigan

World Cup helps boost junior football numbers

THE effect of the FIFA World Cup is partly responsible for a boost in junior numbers in local football.

Northern New South Wales Football stopped by Grafton yesterday as part of a trip across the region to announce registration figures for the 2014 season.

The stats show a marked increase in entry level football, with North Coast Football experiencing an increase in 862 players in the 5-7 age groups (10.6%).

On top of that, there was a 3.9% increase in junior football participation, with 1400 registered players, which itself is about 48% of overall participation.

NCF director Alex Morrison said some of the increase could be attributed to a high-quality and highly exciting World Cup, and NNSWF acknowledged Newcastle Permanent's $750,000 contribution to the local sport.

"The World Cup has really brought the game to the attention of people and made it more exciting," Morrison said. "Newcastle Permanent has provided great support over the last three years."

The increases are reflected at a local level, with South Services Gunners enjoying a big rise.

Club president Shanon Tough said the club gained about 60 extra players through the addition of two senior women's sides and more 6-7-year-olds.

"In the past we've struggled to fill teams but every team has 16 players this season," Tough said.

"We have a lot of parents whose children are playing for the club this year and that definitely helps. It means the seniors are more invested in the juniors."



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