Academy kicking goals for children
A NORTHERN Rivers football academy, started by a Chinderah dad from scratch less than a year ago, has returned victorious from an elite Sydney competition.
The NR Football Academy took its under-10s and U11s teams to the invitation-only Sydney International Cup last weekend to face sides from across Australia and the world.
The under-10s were crowned champions and the under-11s finished third in a successful result for the fledgling group.
The academy came about after Chinderah soccer dad Jason Wagner grew tired of players in the region missing out on elite competition.
Wagner said it wasn’t practical to have to travel regularly to receive elite coaching, so the academy was a great way to provide specialised training.
“We live down in Chinderah and to get that level of training we had to send the kids to the Gold Coast – which is a long way,” he said.
“There were lots of kids besides mine that liked that (level of) training, so I decided to get it started and found Pedro (coach) and we have been going for nearly 12 months.”
The not-for-profit academy incorporates a range of coaches, with training sessions available seven days a week.
Wagner said the academy was crucial to providing a pathway to success.
“The kids come to us and we provide the opportunity to take them on trips,” Wagner said.
“If NR Football wasn’t around, the kids wouldn’t have these opportunities to play soccer around the Gold Coast and the country.”
Organiser Rebecca Baartz said the academy had really taken off and was in strong demand right throughout the region and beyond.
“We have kids coming from as far south as Lennox Head and as far north as Brisbane,” Baartz said.
“It’s really coming along... we’ve gone from two teams to what we have now.”
Baartz said the academy was now at the point where it was like one big happy family, with the kids having made a lot of great friends.
Details: visit the academy on Facebook at NR Football.