Sunbury United’s women’s program is set to make its return for the 2024 FV state league season.
United was home to a women’s team pre-COVID, however only the men’s teams have returned post-pandemic.
With just Gisborne as the only competing soccer club in the region, there is room to grow, according to incoming coach Steven Lee.
“Based on the interest shown so far we should be OK to hopefully get a new team up for next season,” he said.
“There’s always been a potential to have a decent team in Sunbury, and with the women’s World Cup earlier this year, there is a little bit more interest.
“Hopefully we can get some good numbers and attract some good players.
Lee is the former Gisborne coach and has seen what it takes to run a successful and thriving women’s program.
“I used to coach the Gisborne women’s team for years and I’ve seen what they’ve done in regards to the women’s team and even the girl’s team, in actually having a pathway,” he said.
“So I think if we’ve got a women’s team in Sunbury then hopefully it can filter through to a girl’s team as well so they actually see a pathway to play women’s football.
“With the women’s training program you do need to implement different drills because some of the women may not have been playing as much as the men.
“I also found that it’s more of a team effort as well because the older ladies that are playing with the younger ladies that are new to the game, even on the field you need some leaders on the pitch.
“We really want to try and create a better team environment and a better culture for all the players, for everyone to feel safe and play an enjoyable game of soccer.”
As the program is just getting back up and running, Lee said he is going to start with the basics to make sure everyone, including those who have never played the game before, enjoy it and stick with it.
“You need to create drills where as much as they develop skills for people who know how to play the game, it’s also developing beginners,” he said.
“Most of my drills especially in the first couple of weeks would be to try and get the girls who are new to the game up to speed and try and make sure they are playing at a decent level so they don’t feel out of place.”
Any interested players can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Sunbury United Facebook page.