Ipswich’s strong female program rebuilding for 2021
IN what's been an incredibly testing year for all sporting clubs, the Ipswich City Bulls female football program has provided some positive developments for 2021.
"Out of all the women's clubs in our region, we have probably been the strongest,'' Bulls female co-ordinator Liz Ridley said, already looking ahead to next year.
With a strong focus on developing girls players, Ridley and club coaches have worked hard to maintain Ipswich sides in as many Football Brisbane divisions as possible during the challenges created by COVID.
The Ipswich club managed to field boys and girls teams across multiple grades.
They include a mixed under-9 Heat side comprising boys and girls. The Ipswich City Heat team took on an under-10 Easts SAP side in their latest match at Heath Park.
Ridley hopes the girls in that side move into under-10 competition next year before progressing into future under-12, under-13, under-14, under-15, under-16 and under-18 teams.
The Bulls were represented by boys and girls combinations in those grades this season.
"The main focus for me is the girls program at the club and getting it moving forward,'' Ridley said. "To get the best out of the girls and set them up for the future. Where they want to go in life.''
The juniors play until early November due to competitions being resumed after the COVID shutdown.
Ridley said Ipswich City officials had already had a meeting to begin planning for next season while waiting on planned Football Brisbane start dates.
"We are looking at mid-January to refocus everything,'' she said.
That means players, coaches and officials will only have a short turnaround between this year's extended season and 2021 competition.
However, a key priority will be a better pre-season due to the number of injuries players have received at all levels across many football clubs.
"Given COVID, we have done rather well to get through the season,'' said Ridley, who is one of the region's most experienced administrators.
"Moving forward to next year, it is looking really exciting.''
While the Ipswich club works to maintain and bolster junior numbers for next year, they still have plenty of keep them positive this season.
Junior sides like the Bulls under-14 girls are in second place. Other teams are battling hard mid-table despite the season disruptions.
The Bulls senior women's team is leading the way in the Football Brisbane Premier League competition heading into the final weekend of fixtures.
The Bulls women travel to Grange Thistle on Saturday afternoon eager to retain top spot to secure the premiership from Coomera and Peninsula.
The Bulls are on 24 points from eight wins and just one loss, having scored 32 goals and conceded only five.
Coomera is on 22 points from seven wins, a draw and a loss. They have scored 38 goals and conceded five.
Third placed Peninsula are also on 22 points, from seven wins, a draw and two losses. Their for and against record is 32-16.
"At the moment we are top of the table and we just need to stay there,'' Ridley said.