Being ‘Rogues’, Ripley juniors know how to have fun
PARENT and coaching newcomer Richard Ireland typifies the influx of football talent being developed at Ripley Valley FC.
Although new to overseeing a soccer team, he has jumped in enthusiastically like other people moving into the booming Ripley area.
"It's all young families out here. It's really nice,'' Ireland said, having relocated from Sydney five and a half years ago.
"You've got younger families with primarily primary school age kids and the usual one or two kids in the junior areas of high school.''
With an Aussie rules and rugby league background, he and his family were among the first to take advantage of the Providence estates offered.
He has since embraced junior soccer like many other parents seeing the impressive sporting fields at South Ripley.
With assistant Scott Murphy, Ireland is coaching one of Ripley Valley's growing number of junior teams.
The club has 11 junior sides, including under-6 to under-11 MiniRoos, and an under-12 team in the Football Brisbane Divisional competition.
In only the club's second year, Ireland is working with the Under-8 Rogues, a team he jokingly said was aptly named.
"They are great kids,'' Ireland said, despite many of them having a mind of their own.
However, that's the appeal of developing young footballers.
"I'm just floating around and taking it as it comes,'' he said.
"We are not too focused on scores and which comp and who's playing who.
"We just play the game and let the kids have fun.''
He said that was the purpose for kids so young.
"That's the idea. They are all there to have fun,'' he said.
"There's a couple of teams that play for sheep stations and the kids don't look like they are enjoying themselves.''
Ireland was assistant coach an under-7 team last year, from which some of those players are with his current under-8 side.
His team's latest match was against Western Spirit, ending in a draw.
The airconditioning business owner conceded coaching young players was a challenge.
However he said it was enjoyable and satisfying to see Ripley Valley FC fielding junior teams this year.
"My little fella (Lincoln) has been itching the whole year to play,'' he said.
"With everything being shut, they were all itching just to be outdoors and playing with other kids.'
The Ripley Valley Rogues team includes girls Maddie and Minaya who share in the fun.
The competition concludes after the school holidays.
The Ripley Valley under-8 Rogues are one of two club teams playing this year in the South Yellow competition.
The Rogues and Ripley Valley's second under-8 team Rangers play each other on October 10 at the club's Ironbark Park ground at South Ripley.
Football Brisbane has been helping developing clubs like Ripley by offering training methods and drills for coaches and players.
Ireland said that was most welcome.