PINT-SIZED soccer players from the Bellarine recently kicked off their MiniRoos season.
The southern hub this year consists of the Bellarine Sharks, Drysdale, Surfside Waves, Leopold, Armstrong United, Surf Coast, Breakwater and Barwon Heads.
The MiniRoos program, for kids aged four to 11 years old, is a great introduction to soccer and a team sport environment, with smaller sided teams and shorter games.
The popularity of soccer is rapidly growing on the Bellarine, with participation rates across the southern hub almost tripling during the past five years.
In 2018, the southern hub comprises 29 under-11 teams, 32 under-9 teams, 23 under-7 teams – 348, 334 and 138 players respectively – totalling 820 players.
This is compared to 2013, when the southern hub had 16 under-11 teams, 14 under-9 teams and 16 under-7 teams – 144, 140 and 96 players, respectively – totalling 328 players.
The opening of Drysdale’s much-anticipated multi-sport precinct has also added another ground for the sport to be played on.
In a major boost for sport in Drysdale and on the Bellarine, the $6.726 million first stage of the project includes an AFL/cricket oval and a multi-use field with two soccer pitches, cricket practice nets and practice wickets.
The site, accessed from Belchers Road, also features a new pavilion with community social space, kitchen, change rooms, kiosk and storage rooms.
The MiniRoos program focuses on learning new skills, being active, making life-long friends and, potentially, unearthing the next generation of Socceroos or Matildas.