There is a growing excitement among Ballarat's football community of the possibility of the newest A-League club playing games in the city.
The City of Ballarat is actively courting the A-League's newest franchise, Western United.
And football fans and administrators are throwing their support behind the franchise, saying it will provide a pathway for regional footballers which does not currently exist.
Western United will join the A-League next season and is currently locked in contract talks with regional cities around the state for home matches.
While the club will temporarily base most of its home matches at Kardinia Park in Geelong, Ballarat has not given up hope that some home matches could also be played at the Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility (Morshead Park) or Mars Stadium.
Sebastopol Vikings State League coach Michael Goodman said a professional club in Ballarat would grow the game regionally.
"I believe that having another professional football club at the A league level through this expansion, offers a great pathway for future players within the Ballarat community," he said,
"If we can grow the local side, into the state league side, then into the premier league side, then a pathway is there for our young footballers.
"I think it's a fantastic initiative, and hopefully the new A-League team will be able to garner some relationships within the city and our young footballers."
Reports have emerged that Western United is seeking a second home venue as it waits for its new stadium - at Tarneit - to be constructed.
Right now, on site issues have prevented the first turning of the sod at the new stadium.
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The club is aiming to set up its premises in Tarneit in 2021-22, while Football Federation Australia is comfortable to wait until 2022-23.
Either way, it leaves up to five home matches needing a venue over the next two seasons with Kardinia Park likely to host eight of the 13 home games required each season.
Ballarat District Soccer Association president Herman Bogers while he did not know a great deal about talks, he said the association would welcome any A League team to Ballarat.
"If that happened it would be fantastic for sure," he said.
"In the past we've only managed to get practice games here, if you got a number of games, get some longevity here and set the team up.
"Western Melbourne, I like the concept, and I believe it needs to be Ballarat and Geelong, Geelong has already got a number of games there, hopefully we can do the same."
City of Ballarat Community Development Director Neville Ivey said the city had been actively courting the franchise.
"City of Ballarat officers have met with Western United chief executive Maurice Bisetto and facilitated a venue tour of both the Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility (Morshead Park) and Mars Stadium," he said.
"Western United was very positive about both these venues as options for A-league and friendly matches.
"We have provided venue hire options to Western United and we are waiting further feedback from Western United so negotiations can continue.
"While no final decisions have been taken at this point, the City of Ballarat is willing and ready to work with Western United to host matches at either venue."
Mr Goodman said the game was growing in Ballarat.
"There is a desire for the game in this town, and participation levels across the country far exceed any other sport," he said.
"Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City have garnered a lot of local support here in Ballarat. It's another opportunity for people to not only be engaged with the game, but enjoy it at a much higher level."
The club was contacted for comment but did not reply before deadline.
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