Calder United is the current holder of the Premiers Plate, the Women’s National Premier League Victoria championship title, the FFV Community Shield and the Team App Cup.
If there was a fifth trophy handed out, United president Eric Psarianos insists it would go to the players for their work promoting the game in the local community.
“We’re doing a lot of work in the community with local soccer clubs, particularly girls,” Psarianos said.
“We’re trying to encourage more females to participate in football.”
Calder United has a number of leading players willing to devote their time to promoting the sport.
They visit local clubs, hold clinics with the kids and invite the juniors to their WNPL games.
“We’re inviting a lot of local teams down to watch the games and walk out on to the pitch with our senior team,” Psarianos said.
“That’s why there’s a lot of respect around for the club, because we are really putting back into the community. It’s really nice to walk past and hear a young girl say, ‘I want to be like Rachel Alonso’ or ‘I want to be like Enza Barilla’.”
Calder wants to be known as the pathway club between the state leagues and the W-League for talented players in the west and north-west.
United has strong talent at the top end with five W-League-linked players and two imports.
There is also a growing youth set up with a number of players on the verge of making the step up to the NPL.
“That’s one of the main things we did from an off-field point of view – make sure we touch base with community clubs and involve these girls to come through the system, so they can aspire to one day join an elite pathway,” Psarianos said.
“Our under-18s are on top quite comfortably and we’ve got a group of 16- and 17-year-old girls that will be playing seniors in the next year or two.
“Our under-15s are in a development phase and our under-13s are sitting second with four 11-years-olds playing in that age group. We want them in each age group for two or three years before they step up.”
Two key drivers of Calder United’s push into the community are Gulcan Koca and Mindy Barbieri.
Koca, a former Turkey international, is a development officer with the Melbourne Victory, while Barbieri is part of the Young Matildas squad.
“Gulcan and Mindy are doing quite a lot of work in the community,” Psarianos said.
“They’re shining examples for the young girls and it makes me very proud.”
Meanwhile, Calder United played out a 2-2 draw with South Melbourne in the WNPL top-of-the-table clash at Lakeside Stadium on Saturday.
United sits two points behind South in the race for the Premiers Plate, but has the benefit of a game in hand.
United will travel to fifth-placed Southern United on Saturday.