Kicking goals: Football's new route to the top

The NPL licence will provide elite players with a pathway to the A League, to follow in the footsteps of players such as former Gold Coast United captain Michael Thwaite, who has made 13 appearances for Australia.
The NPL licence will provide elite players with a pathway to the A League, to follow in the footsteps of players such as former Gold Coast United captain Michael Thwaite, who has made 13 appearances for Australia. Kari Bourne

A NEW elite pathway is in place with Gold Coast United - the former A League side - to be reintroduced as the city's new National Premier LeagueS (NPL) Queensland team.

Two clubs, Gold Coast Athletic and Gold Coast Galaxy, will merge under the reborn brand in a move that convinced Football Queensland to replace two FQPL licences with a single ticket into the NPL.

"In the next few months, we will roll out our plans and key announcements making United a serious force in Australian football,” United chairman Danny Maher said.

"Our focus is to be a brand that is owned by the entire city and our aim is to be successful, very successful.

"Every club at the Gold Coast is a member of United under our constitution. With the prospect of the NPL being joined with the A-League in a promotion relegation system at any time, we need to be successful immediately and we have to be grass-roots led.”

The NPL is currently Australia's second tier of football behind the A League.

But the prospect of a grass-roots focus and potential A League-links should provide incentive for local coaches and emerging players who will now have a ready-made pathway to elite honours.

United board member Mark Anderson said the club would attract male and female players.

"We have been granted both men's and women's NPL licences,” he said.

"Under our banner any Gold Coast player can be a part of the elite pathway.

"To have both licences is exciting - we are the only club on the Gold Coast to offer this - and we are committed to equal access to elite pathways.”

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