Springfield United’s rapid growth chasing higher level goals
WITH an increase to 65 teams this season, Springfield United officials were asked how big do they want the club to get.
Dedicated club president Scott Harding answered: "I said as big as we can''.
The club built on strong family foundations has grown from 28 teams and 350 players in 2016 to more than 60 sides and 800 players preparing for 2021 Football Brisbane competitions.
That includes a Capital League 2 men's side, City League teams, three women's combinations and a healthy junior representation.
Even with COVID challenges last year, the Springfield club still fielded more than 50 sides, including 27 junior teams.
Harding was delighted to see the expansion continue at the club's impressive new base at the Springfield Central Sports Complex.
The club's top men's team was promoted to CL2 this season.
A youth-laden Springfield United side was bundled out of the annual FFA competition last night after losing 5-0 to Sunshine Coast Premier League opponents Nambour Yandina United.
"They (Nambour Yandina) were a little bit more clinical than we were but that's okay,'' Harding said.
"It's still very early days in the season.
"We're looking to really go ahead, which is really cool.''
In the latest match, head coach Michael Keating fielded a number of 16 year olds pressing for first team honours this year.
"To be honest, we probably should have been a couple of goals up at halftime," Keating said.
"We had a couple of big players missing at the back (away on holidays).
"I played all the kids. They've done well.''
He said Springfield United were looking to continue advancing after top three finishes in recent seasons.
Springfield United lost the championship on the last game last season after playing four games in eight days. But the team was promoted to the next level this year.
The top team started two weeks ago, training at the Springfield Central Sports Complex.
"The facilities are better and we're getting a lot more people at the games as well,'' Keating said.
The head coach said Springfield also had a promising Reserve Grade side this year.
In his fourth year at the club, Keating will be assisted by Alex Smith, who will play an important advisory role having settled in the area.
Smith is a two-time Scottish Cup winner with St Mirren (1987) and Aberdeen (1990) and was in the Scottish League when Aberdeen won the 1990 Cup.
Keating also has strong connections to Everton Football Club where he worked as an Academy development coach.
The growing Ipswich club started its pre-season midweek Springfield Cup campaign with a 8-1 win over Teviot Downs at the Springfield Central Sports Complex.
Springfield United's Reserve Grade side won 11-1.
Patrick Keomoungkhoun, Jay Buzzo, Jamie Cameron and Ash Swatton are among the Springfield United debutants to watch.
Cameron and Swatton scored early goals.
In Reserve Grade, 16 year old striker Pavlin Obertenov netted four goals.
Nakul Gireesh scored a double to ignite his season.
With Springfield United out of the annual FFA Cup competition, the club can concentrate on the Springfield Cup series, which continues on Wednesday nights until the Football Brisbane season kicks off in early March.
Springfield United tackle Westside this week, again at the Sportstar Drive location.
"It's very much our home now,'' Harding said of the Springfield Central Sports Complex club where officials worked many years on to secure a presence at.
"It's a beautiful complex.''
Lower grade Springfield United sides are also involved in the Cup format launched last year.
Junior teams, involved in Football Brisbane divisions up to the Brisbane Premier League level, open their new seasons in April.
"We've got big numbers and we go all the way down to under-12 for girls, which is really good,'' Harding said.
"The female part of the club is growing really strong as well.''