Football Alive

Canberra United men’s team for NSW NPL 4

Canberra United is an extremely marketable team who have enjoyed success in the Women’s game playing in the Westfield W-League.

With little chance of one of the NPL teams from the ACT having the capacity to play in the A-League alone, the men’s game is without a team with national ambitions in our nation’s capital.

One way of fixing this in a cost effective way would be to field a team in the 4th division of NSW’s NPL.

United would then try and climb the ladder until it got to the NPL 1 and from there could stake its claim for promotion to the mooted 2nd division or if that doesn’t eventuate, to the A-League as a franchise.

If it were the latter then it would keep a team in the NPL as the existing A-League teams are doing.

The problem with Canberra United playing in the ACT NPL is that they would rival all the other clubs and become unpopular with the other grassroots teams.

This would act adversely towards the women’s team and the bid itself.

If they played in NSW they would source players from them all and be a club who Footballers aspired to play for.

Canberra United playing in the NSW NPL divisions would then become a quasi-representative side for the ACT.

If Canberra were to put in a bid today for an A-league franchise it would likely be rejected on the grounds that the infrastructure isn’t in place and that there are better bids.

It is a shame that Ivan Slavic’s bid which included a pledge from the ACT Legislative Assembly and millions in pledges from Canberrans was rejected.

It ticked all the boxes.

By creating a grassroots team under a known brand that doesn’t detract from any of the existing NPL teams from the capital, it would be able to build steadily towards national honours.

With the AIS based in Canberra, there is a real opportunity to source young talent from across the country and also to develop the youth of the region.

If Football is to grow to become Australia’s premier sport, we must have representation from all states and territories.

The battle for hearts and minds along with the sporting dollar will neither be quick nor easy.

But it must be attempted.

A semi-amateur club utilising the facilities of Canberra United and the AIS and aspiring through the nation’s strongest NPL would give the capital its springboard.

Without it, Football fans in the ACT, Eden-Monaro, Riverina and Western Plains will remain in exile.

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