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  • Southern Sevens football tournament

    2019 - 01.16

    Southern Branch committee member Ken Park, Southern under 17 women’s players Lexi Carter and Paris Ford, Southern women’s Kellie Brown and Southern Sevens creator Jim Ford are excited about the prospect of the inaugural competition.ISON Park will welcome teams from across the state in March when is hosts the inaugural Southern Sevens football tournament.

    The competition is the brainchild of Southern Branch ladies coach Jim Ford who is working in conjunction with Southern Branch committee member Ken Park and a host of other organisers as they prepare for the competition they believe could revolutionise football in the area.

    Ford is currently Director of Navy Football and his idea stemmed from an already established competition that he has been involved in for a number of years.

    “We [Navy Football] used to go up to Forster every year to play in the Viking Challenge, which is a six-a-side tournament that has been running for a while and attracts over 100 teams,” said Ford.

    “With all the facilities we have here at Ison Park, I thought, why are we going all the way up there if we can have one right here?”

    Ford and fellow Navy Football operations officer, Kellie Brown, used what they know about the competition at Forster to develop what has lead to the creation of Southern Sevens.

    “We took the idea to Ken [Park] and Southern Branch and they said yes, then we went to Shoalhaven Football and they said yes… they thought it was a great idea so we began organising,” said Ford.

    The development of the competition has only been in the works since November, giving them limited time to get the tournament up and running before it takes place on March 7 and 8.

    The organisers have been working with Southern Branch and also Shoalhaven District Football, whose referees and grounds at Ison Park will facilitate the running of the competition.

    “The first year is always going to be the hardest but we see this as being something that can be sustainable and something that we can run annually.

    “There will be lessons learnt this year but we want to develop something that we can build on and ultimately improve next year,” said Ford.

    Southern Branch committee member Ken Park said that further down the track, this tournament is something he hopes will grow exponentially and that can incorporate different parts of the community.

    “We hope that down the track we can get Shoalhaven City Council involved and make them recognise the huge benefits it can have on local tourism and the financial side of things,” he said.

    “We’ve seen what it is like in Forster and if we can make it as big as it is there, here in Nowra, then it will be a huge success,” said Ford.

    However before they reach that point, they need to attract the interest from players and individuals to register teams for the competition.

    The competition will run over two days with two separate competitions for ladies and men.

    It will be an open aged, seven-a-side tournament with similar rules to those of the local summer soccer competition which includes roughly 12 minute halves and half size fields.

    Ford is encouraging local teams to get around the new idea and register teams to take part in the competition.

    “We’ve already had interest shown from a number of local clubs including Illaroo, Shoalhaven United, Shoalhaven Heads and a number of Southern Branch ladies,” he said.

    Despite being a local event, the emphasis has been put on teams from outside the region to come and compete in the Southern Sevens.

    “I’ve received emails from teams in the ACT and around Sydney who are interested in taking part in the tournament which has been great and we hope for many more,” said Park.

    So why should teams register in the Southern Sevens?

    Kellie Brown said that the competition is perfect timing in the lead up to the football season and clubs and teams who are interested in some match practise should get involved.

    “It’s the perfect pre-season build up, making it the ideal time for teams and players to have a hit out before the season starts… and there are a number of cash prizes on offer for teams who win,” she said.

    Jim Ford said that they are actively trying to seek out sponsors for the competition so they can name the fields at Ison Park based on a businesses or groups in the community.

    “North Nowra Tavern has generously come on board as a sponsor of the competition and will be the place all teams and competitors go back to after each day to see where and who they will play the following day,” said Ford.

    Registration is $500 per team and Ford stressed that you don’t have to be apart of an organised club to register.

    “Some clubs may enter teams but if you are apart of a club and want to be in a team with your mates, that is fine too… Registration works out to be about $50 a player for a squad of ten,” he said.

    Ford’s vision is for a ‘good quality, well run and sociable’ competition which can be further developed and improved in future years.

    “Wouldn’t it be great, five years down the track to look back at this competition and think, this is a real bumper thing for the area.

    “It’s bringing people to the area, it’s financially sustainable and there some great football happening,” said Ford.

    For more information or to register a team to take part in the Southern Sevens, email [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校

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