Albany’s first soccer festival a crowd-pleasing smash hit

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington with Sorrento Football Club captain Shaun Kilkelly and the Regional Cup.
Camera IconCity of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington with Sorrento Football Club captain Shaun Kilkelly and the Regional Cup. Credit: Laurie Benson

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington says he hopes the Festival of Football can return to the region in the near future after hailing last week’s event a resounding success.

More than 1000 spectators packed into Centennial Stadium during a big day of soccer activities that culminated with the first National Premier League WA matches played in Albany.

Sorrento Football Club defeated Perth Glory’s national youth league team 5-1 and then under lights, the Perth Soccer Club, featuring Albany player Jenna Onions, beat Hyundai NTC 2-1.

Mr Wellington was on hand to watch both marquee NPL games and said the whole festival was very well received.

Sorrento and Perth Glory head out to play.
Camera IconSorrento and Perth Glory head out to play. Credit: Laurie Benson

“I thought it was a terrific day,” he said.

“There were lots of goals scored, the game was surprisingly fast and there was about 1000 people there across the day, which I think is the best attendance they’ve had in a regional area.

“We are a bit starved for top-class sporting events but it was a good exhibition and great for the spectators to see and the facility being utilised.”

Mr Wellington said there had been no immediate discussions with Football West about staging another Festival of Football in the region but teams would be welcomed back with open arms.

Football West chief executive James Curtis said it was clear there was huge growth in participation in the Great Southern.

Perth Glory's Mason Tatafu signs Max Osborne's football.
Camera IconPerth Glory's Mason Tatafu signs Max Osborne's football. Credit: Laurie Benson

“Football West is delighted with how the Regional Festival of Football went, culminating in a fantastic day on Saturday when a full house enjoyed the two NPL matches at Albany’s Centennial Stadium,” Mr Curtis said.

“Looking ahead, the Regional Festival of Football is a major attraction on our calendar and we would love to be able to come back and put on another successful show.”

Perth SC women’s coach Danielle Brogan threw her support behind future Albany games.

“We loved it and had such a great weekend,” she said.

“We went up to the Gap and saw some whales. We’d be happy to come back down again.”

Perth Glory substitutes keep warm during the game.
Camera IconPerth Glory substitutes keep warm during the game. Credit: Laurie Benson

Jamie Harnwell, Perth Glory great and coach of Sorrento, said the week was a big success.

“There was a great crowd on Saturday and the whole week has been really good,” he said.

“It was great to showcase to our regional participants what level there is in WA and we look forward to going back to Albany in the future.”

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