Football fever hits Hunter

Footballs have flooded Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley as the 2014 football season across Northern NSW prepares to get underway.
Registrations opened last weekend on February 1st and already after only a week just under 15,000 players have registered.
To cater for the influx of players, Newcastle, Macquarie and Hunter Valley Football have received 4,100 footballs and shin pads for young players in the area. All entry level players (aged 5-7 years) will receive a free ball and set of shin pads as part of the Newcastle Permanent Building Society’s sponsorship of Junior Football across Northern NSW – now in its third successful year.
“Registrations for 2014 have opened and already, just one week in, over 14,900 players have registered to play football this season in Northern NSW,’ Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland said.
‘Across Northern NSW there was a 3% increase in Entry Level registrations from 2012 to 2013 and with the huge year of football ahead, including the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the lead up to the AFC Asian Cup to be hosted by Australia in January 2015, we anticipate that this growth will continue,’ Eland said.
‘The positive growth can be attributed to the generous support we receive from the Newcastle Permanent and its branches across Northern NSW as our Partners in Junior Football and initiatives introduced through this support, that include allowing entry level registration fees to remain stable and providing all players in this age group with a free ball and set of shin pads,’ Eland concluded.
In the Hunter Valley, entry level registration increased by 9.4% from 2012 to 2013 with a total of 1201 registered players in the 5-7 years age group, the largest increase across Northern NSW Football. Macquarie Football followed with a 6.9% increase going from 1151 registered players in 2012 to 1230 in 2013. Newcastle Football saw registered players in 2012 increase from 1657 to 1722 in 2013, the largest number of registered players in all of Northern NSW Football’s zones.
Whilst final player census figures will not be known until later this year, the signs are certainly very positive for continued junior growth in the current football rich environment with national attention on the upcoming Socceroos’ World Cup campaign and the lead up to the AFC Asian Cup.
Newcastle, Macquarie and Hunter Valley clubs will continue to take registrations over the weeks ahead in the lead up to the season kicking off in April.