The Ballarat Eureka Strikers have joined forces with Ballarat City.
Strikers members voted strongly to support the merger at a meeting on Tuesday night, with 39 in favour compared to two against.
Maddy Vranesic, president of the Strikers, said it was a great move for the city’s leading female soccer club to join forces with their male counterparts.
“I am very happy with the result. There has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes from both boards and I am grateful for the support the BCFC board gave throughout the whole process,” Vranesic said.
“I believe this will be an amazing opportunity for the females in the region and am excited to see the club grow as a whole across both males and females in the coming years.”
Vranesic said the vote now made the merger official, with a transfer of licence to soon take place through Football Victoria.
The club’s top women’s side will continue playing in Football Victoria’s state league two, while the senior men and junior boys squads will battle it out in the National Premier Leagues Victoria 2 competition. The other open-age and junior female teams are set to compete in the local Ballarat and District Soccer Association.
Highly-regarded leader James Robinson has recently returned to Ballarat City as its director of coaching. He was present at Tuesday night’s meeting and has been a major part of the discussions with the Eureka Strikers.
Robinson, a former A-League player, is back at the club after a stint as Brisbane Roar’s youth coach.
Part of his role at Ballarat City is to coach the senior men’s side.
A coach for the senior women’s team is yet to be decided.
The decision to merge brings together the city’s elite male and female soccer teams for the first time since the Ballarat Red Devils and Ballarat Lady Devils broke apart back in 2014. This breakaway saw the Strikers established.
Ballarat Eureka Strikers finished the 2018 women’s state league two season in fourth spot under the leadership of coach Adam Vranesic. The team won nine of its 18 matches throughout the campaign.