Soccer carnival 'best of its kind'
A STRONG Gold Coast United line-up that included Far North Coast players was among the 42 teams at the Oceania Cup female soccer carnival at Alstonville at the weekend.
Co-captains Jazmin Bertuzzi (Dunoon) and Resse Donnelly (Mullumbimby) were part of the United team, which won the National Premier League Under-18 girls title this year.
United fielded a combined Under- 18 and open women's team, mainly filled with younger players, at Crawford Park, Alstonville.
Far North Coast products Zoe Corbett, Eloise Fryer, Britt Hargreaves, Hollie Jarrett, Deeanna Thompson and Keea Parrish all played in the United women's team in the NPL this year.
Corbett played at the weekend and helped the team to a 2-1 win over Brisbane United in one of its hardest games.
"We're really grateful for the Northern Rivers and this is the best carnival of its kind,” Gold Coast coach Joe Repic said.
"We haven't just picked girls because of where they're from; they were picked because of how hard they work and what they can offer the team.
"There is a trophy at the end of it but the girls are also here to experience a new environment and build their confidence.
"As a coach I like to step back and let them take control once they get going.
"All that is asked of them after a long season is that they stay motivated and work for each other.”
It was seventh annual Oceania Cup carnival for female teams from Under-12s up to open women who complete in an 11-a-side format.
There were plenty of teams from south-east Queensland while others came from Sydney and Tasmania.
Alstonville soccer club runs the event and has built it up around volunteers.
"We've gained a lot of momentum in recent years, people know about us and we're firmly established in the calendar,” event organiser Matt Wiltshire said.
"One of our life members, John Noble, recognised there was an opportunity to hold a carnival like this with the focus on the girls.
"They seem to respond to it and I think they enjoy just having the spotlight on them solely for the weekend.
"Our volunteers are a pretty special group, it's a big job and very much still run by the Alstonville club.
"It's relatively cheap to play in and they all leave with a free tournament shirt.”
Finals are being played tonight after a busy two days of competition that took out Geoff Watt Oval and Crawford Park.