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Soccer club in Melbourne’s south-east forced to turn away 100 kids a season

A soccer club in Melbourne’s south-east is being forced to turn away 100 children a season, as the sport’s popularity soars and the club’s facilities cannot keep up.

As reported in the Leader newspaper, the Aspendale Stingrays now has about 450 players and 38 teams, from under 7s up to seniors.

Derrick Berends, President of Aspendale Stingrays, told Tom Elliott they stopped advertising for players because they could no longer accommodate for the number of kids who wanted to play.

“We stopped advertising about two years ago because our grounds really can only take 300 kids,” Derrick said.

“The bulk of our players would be under 11.

“We’ve also seen a large increase in female participation, we’ve gone from 20 to 70 girls this year and we could certainly take more.

“We just need more grounds, more lighting.”

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“It tends to spike after World Cups, we did notice an increase four years ago,” he said.

“What we’ve found is we tend to retain players too, so we don’t lose them between World Cups.

“There is certainly issues with concussion (in AFL) I do know some of our members encourage their kids to play, particularly the mothers, persuade them to play soccer.”

“I think a lot of parents look at footy, and see something like the Andrew Gaff incident and think, I don’t want my son being on the end of that,” Tom said.

“And soccer just looks like a more palatable alternative.”

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