Wanderers and Nepean, working together

Following the first top-flight football in Penrith for 30 years we take a look at Nepean Football Association; the guardians of football in the region.

Following the first top-flight football in Penrith for 30 years we take a look at Nepean Football Association; the guardians of football in the region.
 
The Nepean FA cover the Penrith, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Wollondilly council areas with around 12,000 registered players from U5s to Over 45s making up 1,039 teams at 31 clubs. As well as the 31 amateur clubs, the Nepean FC also has a strong representative structure through Nepean FC who plays in State League 1.
 
With Wanderer Mark Bridge as well as Socceroos Mile Jedinak, Mat Ryan and Mark Schwarzer, the region has certainly produced high calibre players.
 
Nepean FA Football Manager James Rankine puts the success of football in the area down to a number of factors.
 
“We have a great structure to identify players here at Nepean. All 32 clubs look after their members which allows them to attract and retain players before handing them over to representative teams when ready,” he said.
 
“We work with Football NSW to identify coaches and state team players while we have a development program that is in partnership with the Wanderers.
 
“I run FFA coaching courses for all the clubs and am also the technical director at Nepean FC.”
 
Wanderers Community, Pathways and Football Development Coordinator Josh Hunter said the partnership between the Club and Nepean benefits football and young players.
 
“We provide support where they need it and offer a value add to their programs by sending players to talk about their experiences, challenges and what it took for them to become a professional player,” Hunter explained.
 
“The impact is positive as young players now have a real touch point and interaction with their role models. It’s something that’s tangible, it’s not just a pipe dream – they see local guys from Western Sydney who are making a career and playing professional football in Australia.
 
“They can see the connection with what our players did, how they grew up, where they grew up and all the things from school to the local club to the support of the local community. It gives them a greater sense of how to achieve their goal of playing high-level football.”