Naracoorte United Soccer Club is one of the many clubs who can’t wait to return to the pitch when the Limestone Coast Soccer Association kicks-off its season on July 19.
Senior coach Daniel Sribar said the return of football has been a godsend for many Naracoorte and Bordertown athletes, with the league’s return allowing people feel a sense of normality.
“This pandemic has been hard on everyone in all forms whether it be work home or sport life,” Sribar said.
“The fact soccer is going ahead is just a little win in the bigger picture of our current way of life – It’s a taste of normality, especially for the kids who haven’t had an avenue with restrictions to get out and about.”
While countless players, coaches and supporters were skeptical any sport would take place this year, Sribar said he was always hopeful of a return.
“I was always hopeful of playing when many said to give up. Soccer for me is an outlet to my day-to-day way of life – so yes, I could say I wanted it very much, and even needed it,” Sribar said.
Although the league has returned, there has been plenty of work behind the scenes to develop a shortened fixture to accommodate for Portland being unable compete.
Sribar said despite the “odd” feeling of the upcoming season, the team numbers are looking good.
“The teams with a broken up preseason are coming along nicely, we have had good senior numbers and some good youth coming into the sport,” Sribar said.
“My senior sides are looking good despite some key injuries and players having the year off. Some new faces and some old faces, but overall things are looking up.
“The youth coming through into the senior ranks at the moment is outstanding and all of us at the club are trying our best to help them develop everyday into the players they want to be.”
The club is fortunate to have a sizable contingent of players from Bordertown, who travel twice a week to for training, resulting in a larger pool of talent for Sribar to select from.
With a number of sports not going ahead in the Limestone Coast this year, some clubs might have a few new faces, something that will make the league stronger.
Despite a shortened season, Naracoorte United are not looking to simply make up the numbers.
“Our goals and any teams goal should always be to be competitive against any opponent – but my goal is simple, make the finals and push to go all the way to the grand final,” Sribar said.
“As always, all teams have strengths and weaknesses – this year will be no different. Besides us, I expect that Centrals, Apollo and Inter will be solid again.”
Sribar said athletes who want to play sport this year are more than welcome to join the club.