Football Queensland CEO Geoff Foster

October 8, 2012

South Burnett soccer players may now have a clearer career pathway following the formation of a new club in the South-West Zone to service the needs of advanced players in the region.

The South West Thunder could join the Mackay Crusaders and the Wide Bay Revolution as invitees in the U12 to U20 APL competition.

The three regions missed out on securing any of the 12 licences in the new Australian Premier League announced last week.

The APL Queensland division will replace the existing Queensland State League and could become a stepping stone to the A-League if the national competition introduces a promotion-relegation system in the future.

Football Queensland says the proposal to create the new clubs has “thrown a lifeline” to the three regions.

“Football Queensland acknowledge that these three areas have traditionally been key strategic areas for our sport and we always hoped to create advanced player pathways which are State Wide,” Football Queensland CEO Geoff Foster said.

“Sunday’s meeting was productive with all three clubs putting forward compelling arguments supporting their inclusion as invitees into the Under 12 to Under 20 APL competition.

“Three clubs (Mackay Crusaders, South West Thunder and Wide Bay Revolution) will be created to service the needs of the advanced players within their footprint with the view of developing a business solution that will see them making application for a full licence as soon as that window opens.

“There is no immediate timeline to grow the APL but we expect to see growth opportunities in season three or four.

“In the meantime, my recommendation to the Board will be they are permitted to participate as guests into the League, thereby affording the same opportunities for identification to higher levels as the licensees.”

The clubs would be expected to satisfy the same very high level coaching criteria as the Licensees and be expected to become mentors to the community clubs within their footprint.

A meeting will be called shortly to discuss the competition make-up including travel provisions.

A new U20 league would allow clubs to progress the U19 squads who previously played in the JPL under management of the Zones, and progress to create a talented nucleus for creation of an open team in a few year’s time.

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