Sporting Whittlesea has hit the midpoint of its state league 2 season with one eye on the present and another firmly on the future.
Getting to the bye in seventh on the table with five wins from the first 14 rounds, Sporting Whittlesea interim president Dean Lockwood said he was starting to see improvement within the group after an off season of big change.
“With the exception of one or two players who played with us last year, most of the players are new, so it’s not surprising it’s taken a while to get that cohesiveness,” Lockwood said.
“It’s taken a few weeks to get their mojo and find a groove as a team, and a number of players are from overseas with different systems, different structures, and also a language barrier.
“It’s been great to see that improvement come over time, and the results have followed.”
Sporting Whittlesea’s loss to Cairnlea in the last game before the bye was its first in six games, a run that included 16 goals in five games.
Off the field has also been a busy time for the club, with the introduction of a new two-tiered football program: community football and performance football.
Lockwood said it was a partnership between the club, Football Federation Victoria and Whittlesea council that was aimed at getting more local kids involved in playing soccer and keeping fit.
“The club wants to broaden the base of participation of players and parents at the club, and it all coincides with the opening of our new pavilion,” Lockwood said.
“The best way to do this is with our community football program, which is open to boys and girls aged eight and above, and with volunteer coaches overseen by our experienced technical directors.”
The boys program will be run by Jungho Kim, who has played professionally in Korea and Croatia, while the girls program will be run by Canadian Olympian Christina Julien.
Lockwood said the performance football program would be aimed at more developed juniors and those seeking to take their game to the next level.
“That’s a much more intensive and holistic program,” he said.
“More trainings each week, access to nutrition workshops, yoga, it really is about offering these kids a whole view of what more serious football looks like.
“The club is very serious about this, and since we announced that this program was coming in 2018 we’ve already had a number of players come forward to trial, which is really exciting.”
Sporting Whittlesea will resume its state league two season this Saturday with a home clash against top of the table Altona City.