GROWING STRONGER: Rovers to field two new teams
SOCCER’S growth in the Colac district has reached a new high on the back of a spike in player numbers.
Colac Otway Rovers will double the club’s junior and senior representation for the upcoming FFV Geelong-region season.
Two senior Rovers teams will line up in Division Two, while the club will field an under-15 team on the back of its success in the under-13 competition in 2015.
Departing president John Clarke said a partnership with Diversitsat, a Geelong-based migrant support agency, resulted in the club doubling its representation in the open-age format.
Colac Otway has added 28 new senior players in the off-season, who are mostly from Colac’s Afghan community.
Clarke said the club’s growth was a momentous occasion, which had helped make inroads to build soccer’s stature in the district.
“We were approached by Diversitat who have a number of clients that were interested in playing soccer this season,” he said.
“The vast majority are from the Afghanistan community and unfortunately they weren’t able to connect with the club through their work schedule in the past because we train in the evening and a lot of them work night shift.
“As a club our focus is to have a culture which is inclusive, they are now Rovers with us.
“The club in itself, we have a very diverse membership and we’re really proud of that, it really brings people together.”
The addition of new senior players and the club’s junior growth saw the Rovers earn the FFV Geelong-region’s mantle as the “biggest growing club in the region”.
“We’re rather proud of the fact that we’re able to grow as fast as we have grown,” Clarke said.
“Building on the success of the past two years of growth at the club, we will be fielding four teams, with one under-13s, one under-15s and two senior squads.
“Both senior squads will be playing in Division Two as Rovers Gold and Rovers Green.”