For the girls from Balmain District Football Club (DFC), the KEEPUP Kanga Cup will be a major highlight of their footballing career and they will be able to take their experience and skills that they have gained over this past week back home to their local competition.
The team from Sydney’s Inner West have enjoyed a welcomed return to the annual competition having the opportunity to take on some of Canberra’s best and brightest young prospects and even some young Matilda’s.
Balmain have brought three teams to this year’s competition with the Under-16’s girls creating an amalgamation of two teams into one.
For Manager Peter Alorati and the team, having the opportunity to play against high quality opposition from interstate is an experience that the girls will cherish for years to come.
“Getting the chance to play five or six games in three or four days can only improve their football and can only make them play better,” he said.
“I’ve been to the [KEEPUP] Kanga Cup with a team before, and when they go back home and play on the Sunday, you see a major improvement… and to get the opportunity to play against academy and NPL level teams, as a community club the experience for the girls is fantastic.”
Established in 1970, Balmain DFC has developed into one of Australia’s largest community football clubs with over 2,900 players.
The volunteer-driven community encourage participation and actively celebrates achievement at all levels throughout the club.
Balmain were one of the first clubs to introduce an All-Abilities team, catering for children with special needs.
The club also offers a year-round youth development program which includes around 700 kids attending their school holiday clinics every year.
For the community club, having the opportunity to travel to Canberra this week has created invaluable bonding experiences for the girls and has even shaped life-long friendships.
“It’s been great for our club to have two teams come together, to play together and to get to know more people… they’ve played against lots of nice girls and seeing them out and about together has been lovely,” Alorati said.
Balmain currently sit in third place in their group having won three out of their first five games and will play their final pool match against Canberra Croatia on Thursday.
Words: Dion Stergiopoulos