Excitement at fever pitch

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

Excitement surrounds the start of the new Great Southern Soccer Association season kicking off this weekend.

The men’s open competition will become a six-team league in 2017, with PR United dropping down to the men’s masters competition, forming an eight-side second-tier league.

Five teams will fight for the women’s open competition crown, with a 10-team women’s league B.

Incoming GSSA president Bernard De Bunnetat anticipates an entertaining season.

“We’re pretty excited to get the season going; it’s been hard work to get it all to come together but there is a good atmosphere about the season,” he said.

“It’s going to be hard to predict who will win — there have been changes across all the teams.”

De Bunnetat said the women’s social competition continued to grow.

“It’s the biggest area of growth,” he said.

“We just keep getting more players, which is great for the sport.

“It’s a good entry-level standard and we get a lot of mature-age women who haven’t played juniors, which is good.”

The development of players through the social competition will be an important part of the new- look eight-team men’s competition, according to De Bunnetat.

“We’ve got the eight-team social league that will help feed between the juniors and the seniors,” he said.

“I think having that stepping stone is really important.”

De Bunnetat said the association was aiming to improve cohesion with the junior competition. “It hasn’t been great in the past but we’re working on that,” he said

“Having that pathway from juniors through to seniors will make a huge difference.

“The younger players can have a year or two in the social league who aren’t quite ready for the premier league.” The men’s open competition kicks off on Saturday at 4.30pm with Albany Rovers and Phoenix facing off, while Royals will take on Caledonians.

In the women’s open competition on Friday night, Caledonians and Polonia. and Grammar Blue and Phoenix will headline the opening of the season.

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