Close to 30 full-size soccer pitches will be needed across Whittlesea and Hume in the next eight years, according to the sport’s state governing body.
Football Federation Victoria recently released its Football Facilities Strategy, outlining the sport’s infrastructure requirements until 2026.
The report says up to 420 extra full-sized pitches will be needed in Victoria by 2026, with Whittlesea requiring an extra 15 pitches and Hume 13.
According to the FFV, Whittlesea is home to 2969 registered soccer players. Registrations are expected to grow to 4589 players in the next eight years.
In Hume, there are 2406 players, growing to 3932 by 2026.
The Football Facilities Strategy stated that while soccer had grown at a faster rate than other sports, the lack of facilities and poor quality infrastructure was a threat to ongoing participation levels.
The FFV is calling for new pitches, complete with lights, to be built at new schools in Whittlesea and Hume to prevent future pitch shortages.
The organisation also wants the drainage and pavilion at Epping’s Harvest Home Road to be upgraded, and for two artificial pitches to be created in Hume.
The strategy also suggests upgrading the pitches at Harvest Home Road, Painted Hills Recreation Reserve in Doreen, La Trobe University in Bundoora and Aston Recreation Reserve in Craigieburn to regional venues. Hume council corporate services director Daryl Whitfort said the council was working to address the growth of soccer in Hume.
He said the council had opened five new pitches this financial year and would have two more pitches available in early 2019.
“Further pitches are planned in growth areas of Hume, which will address the shortfall of pitches required,” he said.
“The facilities at the Aston Recreation Reserve development are being provided to a standard that will facilitate the level of competition played at the reserve. This includes three soccer pitches (two with full lighting), a new sports pavilion and both female and male-friendly facilities.”