FOOTBALL Mid North Coast believe their decision to withdraw their first grade team from the Women’s Premier League this season will have long-term benefits.
They finished fourth last season, but the decision from coach Mick Day not to accept the coaching role for 2018 left a hole in Mid North Coast’s playing stocks.
FMNC general manager Bruce Potter admitted it was a surprise.
“It was a shock when he decided not to return, but we thank him for his efforts with the girls,” he said.
As a result, FMNC had to decide whether to field a team of teenagers in the open division and run the risk of stunting their development or to withdraw from the competition altogether.
Potter felt it was a better decision to sit out this season to help develop their talented younger age girls with a view to the future.
“It’s been a long time building up to this,” Potter said.
“We’ve got great numbers at a young age with the girls, but once they get to the age where they work and go to uni they leave town.”
Potter said it would be best to have a rebuilding year after they had struggled in the WPL for four of the past five seasons.
“To put them in the WPL in an open age group (at that age) would destroy their development; it happened for four or five years before last year,” he said.
“Our under-20 girls are a group of talented ladies with an excellent coach who will be highly competitive in that age group.
“To us the WPL is a development league and we want to nurture the girls in the appropriate age groups as best we can.”
FMNC’s plan was a deliberate one to strengthen women’s football locally with the possibility of offering contracts for the 2019 season.
“We can work on the girls (development this season) so hopefully we’ll have five or six who will be ready to step up next year,” Potter said.
“It is disappointing, but the plan will strengthen us for many years to come and it gives us a good platform to launch from.”
Technical director Larry Budgen conceded last year’s solution was a “band-aid”.
“We had the coach come in and he brought six or seven players with him,” he said.
“Now our hope for the future is the university where we will be able to keep the girls here.
“We know it’s not going to be easy.”