Docklands’ newest club gears up for big 2024
After moving into its new home at Ron Barassi Snr Park, Docklands Athletic FC is looking for new junior and women’s players.
Competitive local soccer is just months away from kicking off in Docklands, and new club Docklands Athletic FC is on the hunt for new junior and women’s players to join for the 2024 season.
Since moving into its new home at the picturesque Ron Barassi Snr Park in late 2023, the club has settled in well to what it’s called a “fantastic” base.
And after a strong response to senior men’s pre-season training, which kicked off in early January, the club is now looking for interested children to join their “Miniroos” program for under-7s through to under-12s.
Docklands Athletic hosted a six-week clinic in late 2023 in one of the club’s first organised activities at the NewQuay playing fields.
Boasting several qualified coaches ready to help, the club is now getting the word out for what will be an inaugural year for its junior program.
“We’re hoping to lodge three junior teams, which would be a good start for our first time around. That’s our goal at the moment,” club president Matthew Tate told Docklands News.
Miniroos sessions, which run for 45 minutes on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, were launched in late January.
Formerly known as North Melbourne Athletic FC, last year the club shifted from Parkville to Ron Barassi Snr Park in a move that saw them largely absorb the existing Docklands Sports Club (DSC).
As part of the move, which was seen as a win-win by both clubs, it changed its name to Docklands Athletic FC.
For years the North Melbourne club had envisaged plans to establish a junior program to provide a pathway to the club’s senior men’s and women’s teams, which play in Football Victoria competitions.
And in 2024, it gets its wish.
Given the club is just starting out, it does not have a big database of parents and kids to connect with and is keen to spread the word out about its new program.
Players “absolutely love” new Docklands home as women urged to join
Mr Tate said the response from members, who had unanimously backed the move from Parkville to Docklands 86 votes to nil last year, had been extremely positive.
“Fantastic, they absolutely love it,” he said.
“We’ve got a home base for pre-season, which we haven’t had for so long – our previous oval was a cricket pitch throughout summer which we weren’t allowed on, and which they played on until the end of March, which is when Round 1 starts.
“So, we were literally just hopping around parks for pre-season. The guys are just loving having a base for the home season, which is probably helping us with recruitment as we look like a legitimate club operating out of one base.”
He said logistically, having a home-base headquarters also made the world of difference, while the picturesque surrounds in Docklands was an added bonus.
“Just having the facilities as well – [our former home] was filled with cricket stuff in the summer and we had to move all our stuff out, so we were carrying bags of balls around wherever we were training.”
“Whereas now we’ve got a base to move all our stuff into, open up and grab the stuff out to train, so it’s a much more professional setup and the players absolutely love it. Especially in the summer with the beautiful backdrop in Docklands when you’re training in the evening. The feedback has been great from everyone.”
The men’s seniors and reserves teams, which will play out of Football Victoria’s State League 4 competition this season, had around 45 players take part in early sessions, which Mr Tate said was “probably our biggest squad this early in pre-season for quite some time”.
The club’s existing women’s team will again compete in the State League 3 competition in 2024, and new players were encouraged to join in pre-season training, which began on January 31.