2006 Media Article 

SUTHERLAND TITANS FOOTBALL CLUB AND SHIRE SOCCER

Below is a Private Members Statement (506) to Parliament of New South Wales on 26 September 2006 re Titans from local member Barry Collier. 

Mr BARRY COLLIER (Miranda) [4.31 p.m.]: I draw the attention of honourable members to the newest soccer club in the Shire, Sutherland Titans Football Club [FC]. The club was officially launched in July this year and has six teams playing soccer on Saturday afternoons at Sylvania Heights in a rooball format: no offside, unlimited interchange, and a smaller field. I have been to Sylvania Heights and watched the games with the Sutherland Shire Junior Soccer Association President, Craig McCallum, together with parents, volunteers and supporters.

I was, and remain, so impressed with what I saw. Sutherland Titans FC is about access. It is about inclusiveness for kids with special needs, both male and female, who might otherwise only watch soccer on television or only stand on the sidelines watching their brothers and sisters play. It is about giving them access to the great world game of soccer. It is giving them a chance to get out on the field every week in an organised competition, to run and kick a ball, to participate in the world game like others around them.

Those kids really look forward to regularly getting out there on Saturday afternoons. The kids I have watched were really keen and were really getting into it. I vividly recall watching a young girl, Natalie Evans, chase and dribble and pass and shoot for goal, again and again. Rarely have I seen so gutsy and so determined a player at any level. I said to Craig McCallum, "Gee, she's good, isn't she?" I was stunned when Craig said that Natalie has only 5 to 10 per cent vision. Craig told me that at one time another soccer association would not let her play because of her limited sight. But there she was out there on that field on a sunny Saturday afternoon, giving it her all.

That would not have been possible but for Sutherland Titans FC, its volunteers, supporters, parents, and everyone involved. I congratulate and thank each and everyone involved in getting Sutherland Titans FC up and running, including Sylvania Heights Youth Club for its generosity. I acknowledge the Sutherland Titans co-ordinator, Bree Teal. Bree is the quiet achiever; she co-ordinates the teams, the draws, the games, and the volunteers, both on and off the field. She is the administrator, the fundraiser, and the secretary of the Titans, and does all of that while working full-time at a long-day-care centre, studying at TAFE and playing soccer herself.

Last Friday at the Sutherland Shire Junior Soccer Association Annual Dinner you could have heard a pin drop as guests watched a short film on the Sutherland Titans. The film showed the kids on and off the field, their enthusiasm, and their special relationships with all involved, including their team mates, the supporters, and their coaches. One could not but have been moved by that film. I had the honour of presenting Bree with a Sports Minister's appreciation award. As I did, the 400 guests gave Bree a spontaneous, standing ovation, something I shall never forget. I congratulate Bree and thank her for her commitment, dedication, and truly inspirational work for the Sutherland Titans Football Club.

Soccer truly is a key part of the sporting fabric and a key part of family life for many in the Shire. In fact, I am told that we in the Shire have the largest junior soccer association in the Southern Hemisphere, with 1,239 teams, 16,547 players of all ages, male and female, catering for representative teams, and now catering for special needs children. Player numbers continue to grow, with the most rapid increase being in female participants. The oldest male soccer player in the competition is 66 and the oldest female soccer player is 61. There is now an over-45s competition, reflecting the growing demand and enthusiasm for soccer in the Shire and the eagerness of participants to continue playing as long as they possibly can.

The continuing growth and success of soccer in the Sutherland Shire is made possible only by the commitment and dedication of so many. I congratulate and thank the Sutherland Shire Junior Soccer Association President, Craig McCallum, and his management team. I thank the clubs, their coaches, managers and supporters, the players, the dads and mums, the volunteers, the referees and the lines people, who make it happen week in, week out, on and off the field, in season and out of season. I thank them all for bringing the world game to the Shire so successfully and so effectively in 2006.

I thank them also in this year of the World Cup for helping make the dreams of so many young players a reality. When I looked at the World Cup in Germany and at the magnificent players on the field, I could not help but think those players started somewhere, in some little team. Someone had encouraged them to kick a ball, someone got them up on cold Saturday mornings and took them to soccer, someone coached them, someone taught them their skills, someone in some association taught them the rules, and` someone refereed them. All those efforts go to make soccer the wonderful world game that it is, and all those people contributed to the players, to their skills, and to helping them participate in the fantastic game of football. I thank everyone involved in the Sutherland Shire Junior Soccer Association for promoting healthy, active participation in the fantastic game of football for Sutherland shire families

The Sutherland Shire Football competition

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1323879322-80979/link/2163