New football Inter City Cup to help region’s young stars
THE pathway to the top for Central Queensland junior footballers is now clearer after the Inter City Cup was introduced on Monday night.
Football Queensland chief operations officer Ben Mannion unveiled the concept at a meeting on Monday night, before Football Central Queensland confirmed the competition yesterday.
The competition is scheduled to begin on May 4 and will feature regional junior competitive teams from Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Gympie; and hopefully the Fraser Coast.
Regional centres will field teams in a boys under-12, 13, 14 and under-16 competition; and a girls under-13 and under-15 competition.
Teams will not take players out of their regular local club competition, but will allow them to play on Saturday, with the Rockhampton representative matches scheduled on Sundays.
Mannion said there was an opportunity for players to progress further.
"Everyone will get the opportunity to be identified," he said of the concept.
"We'll look at selecting a Central Queensland state team which can compete against other regions in 2015.
"We'll be looking at getting kids to play community football on a Saturday and play 10 times a year for their city.
"We're trying to minimise travel as much as we can so, for example, when Rocky plays Bundaberg they'll play in Gladstone.
2014 INTERCITY CUP
- An inter-city regional boys under-12, 13, 14 and under-16 competition; and a girls under-13 and 15 competition.
- To feature representative teams from Gladstone, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Gympie and hopefully Fraser Coast.
- Starting on May 4 and running every second Sunday until August.
- Rockhampton juniors will be able to play for their local club teams on Saturday and representative teams on Sunday.
- Rockhampton trials will be held on April 6 at Norbridge Park from 10am.
- Contact Football Central Queensland on 07 4922 4470 for more information.
"There's not going to be points or a trophy attached to it as such. Even though it's called the Inter City Cup, it's more about competition."
Mannion said the Inter City Cup was a concept which would provide opportunities for the region's best juniors to test themselves on a regular basis.
"At the end of the day we'll give the kids a lot more of an opportunity this way and a lot more competition," he said.
"The Inter City Cup games will be used as a stepping stone to a Central Queensland (mid-state) representative team, which will go on and play against a North Queensland and a South East Queensland team.
"We've got plans to set--up an All-Star week in either North Queensland or Central Queensland where Central plays against the North in all age groups and we're building on that for 2015.
"We need time to get that right and it'll take time and go from there."
Previously, junior footballers wishing to progress further in football had to play for one of CQFC Energy's junior teams, who competed in the local competition and work their way through to the NPL.
However, the high costs made it difficult for local families to afford, effectively preventing the children from advancing through the ranks.
Mannion said the one-size-fits-all model wasn't for Central Queensland.
"Some areas it works, Townsville and Cairns get the best players so it works for them. Rocky they don't get the best players and cost had a lot to do with that," he said.
Football CQ said the cost for players was yet to be determined.