Plastic fantastic in ‘new era’ for North Coast football
WORK on Coffs Harbour's first synthetic football pitches is underway, opening a world of possibilities for the development of the game.
Two new synthetic pitches costing $3 million are being built as part of a major redevelopment at the Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park.
Expected to be finished in the second half of next year, they will be the only synthetic pitches available for football between Newcastle and Lismore and allow for year-round, all-weather use.
The pitches are expected to pave the way for new forms of football competitions and general manager of North Coast Football Andrew Woodward said they would serve the region well "for decades to come".
"These pitches herald a new era for football on the north coast. We can be operational all year round on a high-quality surface" he said.
"The new pitches and amenities buildings will encourage more people to get involved in football. Quite simply, better facilities equal more and happier players."
Importantly, the redevelopment would increase Coffs Harbour's appeal as a destination for regional competitions and make a case for it to become a base camp for a team participating in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.
"We'll have far more to offer local players and can use them to attract more football to the region," Woodward said.
At present, North Coast Football uses turf pitches at C.ex Coffs International Stadium and Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park for community competitions, matches and training for National Premier League Youth, the Skills Acquisition Program (high-level youth training) and inter-regional gala days.
Football Federation Australia and Northern NSW Football are also users of the facilities for national and inter-regional tournaments.
The total cost of the Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park redevelopment is $12.5 million with $10 million coming from the NSW Government and $2.5 million from Coffs Harbour City Council.
Football is the largest organised team participation sport on the New South Wales north coast with nearly 5,000 players, coaches and volunteers active in 2020 across 24 clubs and close to 300 teams.