THIS season, Victoria Park’s under-13 girls just set out to get a weekly game and try to be competitive.
Their teamwork and determination has secured a grand final that, when they set out to start the season, seemed very unlikely.
Ballarat and District Soccer Association rival clubs were unable to piece together teams to compete in an under-13 girls division, so the Vic Park team stepped up to the under-16 girls’ division.
Vic Park coach Stuart Fraser said the club considered sending the girls to Geelong competition but settled on playing up a division, hoping the girls would not lose interest in the game from expected hidings.
The team missed the first three games of the season as they sorted out what move to make and quickly made up ground.
“They just knuckled down and formed close friendships they wouldn’t normally make, because we’ve got quite a mix of girls,” Fraser said.
“It’s a fantastic effort to go up and then to get into a grand final.
“They have a pretty good mindset and it’s starting to pay off.”
Vic Park also fielded an under-16 girls’ team in the competition, but kept its under-13 girls together after their strong, full pre-season.
They play without top-up help from older girls – all still qualify for under-13s and two players are only aged 11.
Red Devils team of the century legend Eric Oparski came to help at training one night and became a passionate supporter and assistant coach ever since.
Vic Park will face Sebastopol Vikings, which have set the division benchmark all season and boast the league leading goal kicker and league best and fairest and runner-up.
Vikings have beaten Vic Park soundly in their past two meetings, but Vic Park has beaten them once by a goal.
BDSA is working to establish more competition for junior girls next season.
Girls have a good chance to hit the pitch in all age divisions for the Summer Sevens, starting next month.