SEBASTOPOL Vikings plan to be state league-bound as early as next season.
The Ballarat District Soccer Association division one league champions yesterday revealed a move into Football Federation Victoria’s state league system was already under consideration, with a vote on the proposal to be conducted at the club’s annual general meeting in a fortnight.
Vikings board member Rod Oppenhuis, one of the drivers for the bid, said the club would not move further until after a successful vote but confirmed the club was ready to step into the state competition system.
“It’s now or never for us,” Oppenhuis said yesterday.
“We’d be looking to enter at the entry level, through what will become state league five next season, which is the old provisional leagues.
“The Sebastopol Vikings board will have to vote on it at the next committee meeting at the AGM in two weeks.
“Depending on how that vote goes, will be where we go with it.
“We’ve made some preliminary inquiries and have an application with FFV, who we have been liaising with.
“There is a lot of water to go under the bridge but they’ve been pretty positive.”
Oppenhuis said the club’s facilities at St Georges Reserve, including new club rooms and lights for night matches, were already of a higher standard than some existing state league clubs.
Under the current proposal the Vikings would continue to field teams in the BDSA competition but would field its senior team and reserves team in state league five, effectively mirroring the Ballarat Red Devils model with teams in both state and district competitions.
“We will liase with the BDSA. We haven’t done that yet because we are still only at the preliminary stages,” Oppenhuis said.
“We would still have our BDSA association but would look at our reserves and seniors teams in state league.
“I’d like to say we’re not trying to compete with the Red Devils.
“There is definitely a gap in the market between state league two and local level football.
“This will give players who might not be at state league two level, but want to play at a level higher than the BDSA, a new opportunity.”
Vikings senior playing coach Paul McClounan said the club’s senior team was ready to play in state league as early as next year.
But he said the club would recruit from the region for reasons of maintaining playing list depth.
The club has the won division one title in the BDSA five times in the past seven seasons.
“We’d be confident of being competitive even if we might not win it (a state league title) straight away,” McClounan said.
The Vikings have hosted Mirabella Cup matches at St George’s Reserve against current state league teams.
And during that cup campaign, Sebastopol defeated provisional league team Torquay.