Football club’s wonderful community service rewarded
OFFERING football to provide quality sport for children and adults is what many Ipswich clubs do exceptionally well.
However, it’s going the extra mile helping families in tough times that highlights a club’s true community spirit.
That’s exactly what Raceview Soccer Club officials and supporters have been doing in recent months during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Club chairman Billy Diehm praised everyone involved for sticking together and serving the Ipswich community in the best possible way.
“What we did in that pandemic was we kept communicating with the players and families at the club to make sure they were all okay,’’ Diehm said.
“And at any time, if any family was struggling, we had other families that would come and help.
“So there’s a strong sense of community and family as part of our club’s DNA.’’
A benevolence fund was set up to assist families in need. The Raceview club also paid some registration fees.
Raceview club supporters banded together to ensure soccer could be played as soon as COVID-19 restrictions eased.
“There was this constant communication through the lockdown period and not playing, and we kept people with a sense, I guess, of hope,’’ Diehm said.
“Saying ‘yes, we will come through this and we will eventually play’.
“That helped a lot in people wanting to have something to aim for . . . so that when we were back ready to play, they were back ready to play and then they become happy to do whatever you have to do on game day among the COVID safe plans to play and keep everyone safe.
“That’s why we had a pool of money for those who were unemployed. The club put money in. Some families started putting money in that fund as well.’’
Diehm said Ipswich City Council assisted by not charging fees on the club’s Grange Road fields at Raceview.
“The money we saved there, we put into the fund as well to help families who did lose a job or lost hours to be able to keep playing,’’ he said.
“We thought it was important for people to play.’’
The community spirit of Raceview club officials has been rewarded with an impressive return to competition.
“We went into COVID with 425 signed on and we came out of it the lockdown with 422,’’ said Diehm, who was thrilled to see 34 teams still able to play this season.
“It was a huge job by volunteers to get this competition back up.’’
Second round matches were played last weekend in a shortened 10-round competition this year.
Games were played under a COVID-19 safe plan where teams arrived ready to play and left the venue when finished.
Social distancing is required along the sidelines and the club keeps a register of who is playing.
“It’s been a great start. Everyone’s been happy,’’ Diehm said, in his sixth year as club chairman.
Raceview is one of eight Ipswich-based clubs in the Queensland Church Soccer Association competition.
Other regional clubs include Blackstone, Westminster, Whitehill, Silkstone, Brisbane Valley, Boonah and the Dinmore Bushrats.
He said the focus was community and building long-term relationships.
Diehm said this year’s competition was kept to 10 rounds and first past the post winners to avoid clashing with summer sport.
Raceview is in its 47th year, having started in 1973.
The club’s home base is the fields on Grange Road, on the former Bremer State High School sports fields.
Diehm said Raceview was content to be community club.
“We use soccer to build a community,’’ he said.
“Our goal at the club is never to be to produce Socceroos so that makes us different to some of the other clubs and other sporting codes around.
“Yes we do have players that have gone on but actually football is the tool to connect people to be part of a community and then to support each other.’’
Junior sport photographer Gary Reid was out and about at the weekend, capturing some of the great action regularly seen in church soccer games.
Last year, Raceview’s Senior Men’s 1 team won the Brisbane Division 1 grand final for the third year in a row.
The club’s under-9 side took out their divisional grand final, being one of Raceview’s five sides in grand finals.
The club caters for players from under-6 to senior men and women.
Senior matches start on Friday nights around the region with junior games on Saturdays.
“That’s the joy we that we get,’’ Diehm said. “This year’s success and the smiles on the faces of the kids.’’
For club inquiries, visit www.raceviewsoccer.org.au