Northern NSW Football congratulates Football Far North Coast’s Newcastle Permanent Community Award winners for May.
The awards recognise the hard work and significant time volunteers, coaches and match officials contribute to Australia’s largest team sport.
NNSWF Head of Football Development Peter Haynes said the Newcastle Permanent Community Awards provided an important opportunity to recognise those who make the game what it is today.
“Without this month’s winners football simply would not be in the position it is. Each of these winners has made an outstanding contribution to their clubs and deserve to be recognised,” Haynes said.
“Community football relies on a collective effort and these awards reflect the appreciation extended to everyone who plays a role in progressing our game.
“I am pleased we are able to thank and acknowledge each of them on behalf of the sport, thanks to the support of our major sponsor, Newcastle Permanent.”
Each of the winners were selected from a number of nominations made by club colleagues and observers of the game. Each winner receives unique packs from official community football partner, Newcastle Permanent, to help them in their endeavours.
Newcastle Permanent CEO Bernadette Inglis congratulated each of the winners and thanked them for their contribution to the game.
From the pool of monthly winners, Football Far North Coast will nominate one winner from each category to represent their zone for the opportunity to be named Newcastle Permanent Community Football Winner of the Year to be announced in October.
Northern NSW Football, Football Far North Coast and Newcastle Permanent congratulate all the recipients for October.
Volunteer of the Month
Julie Bianchi – Bangalow SC
Julie first became aware of Bangalow SC when she moved to Australia in 2000. Her partner Neil registered their three eldest boys to play for the club in 2001 as a way of meeting families and making new friends.
The family was having so much fun playing football that Julie started to play. When Julie and Neil’s youngest son joined the club in 2006, Julie decided to volunteer to coach the team with the help of another mum, Dale Viola, who was the Bangalow Bluedogs registrar at the time.
Julie subsequently volunteered here time to help Dale with the registrar role and eventually became the junior registrar in 2016. Julie has said that she did not really understand just how much work went on behind the scenes to run a club and more broadly, by the small group of volunteers, who do so much every year.
Referee of the Month
Lucas and Mark Woolven
For Mark, who has been a player and coach for many years, the decision came in 2019 to become a referee following a campaign for more seniors to take up the whistle.
Despite his other footballing commitments, Mark makes himself available to referee when he is not playing or coaching which, despite his lack of experience as a referee, provides an experienced football mind that can officiate on senior fixtures and on matches that may otherwise not have a referee, if not for Mark’s willingness to act in the role.
Having seen his father referee for the last two seasons, Lucas completed the level 4 referee course this season and now officiates as an assistant referee on senior fixtures, generally on games with his father.
Lucas is very early into his career as a match official and Football Far North Coast forward to seeing him develop as an assistant referee and as a centre referee in the future.
Lucas represents the next generation of match officials that Football Far North Coast will look to support and nurture, so they feel encouraged to continue in the role and develop into better referees.
The father-son duo are one of seven parent-child combinations officiating with FFNC. As well as this, there are multiple siblings who are officiating in the FFNC Member Zone, which may be evidence that refereeing is not only great for fitness and personal development amongst other positive things but also a great family activity.
Coach of the Month
Rondah Stevenson – Alstonville FC
Rondah’s first involvement with the game was as a spectator when her children played with Lismore Workers FC in 1999.
A change of club to Alstonville FC in 2008 saw the start of a long relationship with Villa and at the age of 44 in 2014, was asked to play in a soccer mum’s team. The team consisted of a mix of women who had children who played but most who had never played.
Rondah, who had three of her four children still playing for Alstonville FC and her husband coaching, was asked last year if she was interested in coaching her daughters’ team. She was also approached by a fellow club member about taking on the role of female development officer at Alstonville FC late last year.
Since doing so, Rondah has aligned the training times of the club’s under-15s and16s girls to match the training of the senior women’s team, allowing mentoring of their junior players.
Rondah was surprised but very appreciative of being recognised with the Newcastle Permanent Community Coach Award.
“There are many aspects of the game that can be taught but finding passion and excitement from playing is key whether you are five or 55,” she said.
“It is so rewarding to support the junior girls to make the transition from girls to women’s football.
“I believe that it is important to ensure that the girls know that they are an important part of the club as they move from junior participation into senior competition.
“To have the support of my family and the Alstonville Football Club has allowed me the opportunity to take on the roles I have and it is humbling to think that I can make a difference.”
Alstonville FC have a forward-thinking committee and group of coaches who are passionate about women and girls football. Events like the Oceania Cup that has been convened each October long weekend, is an example of how the club, football and the community highlight the celebration of women in the sport.
The club’s culture, particularly for female football, is driven by these people and the club is truly thankful for the opportunities they create for its members.