Hello to all our players, parents and supporters. The weeks are starting to roll on very quickly towards the start of the competition season – particularly for NPL Youth and JDL– 2 weeks to go.

Like so many things all around the globe, the COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on our football preparations. The late completion of the 2020 season meant overlaps in trials and selections for 2021, delays in pre-Christmas training starts, delays in gear ordering and still remaining are the impositions on indoor gatherings.

Our coaching staff, players, parents and committee members have worked so hard over the last few months to get us to the good position that we are in now – with just 2 weeks to go. Please remember, you may not see it or be exposed to it, but never underestimate the amount of work that is done in this club to get us to the starting point of the season and onwards. It is a credit to the volunteers amongst us, as to what is achieved.

I take the opportunity to update you on various developments.

Gear / Apparel Distribution – Supply finally started to come through last week, with Training Gear and most of you would have received the first allocation. The balance is expected to be flowing through over the next fortnight and will be sorted and distributed to you with great priority.

Huge thanks to gear team for getting training gear checked and sorted so quickly and also to Dan, Daniel, team managers and parent volunteers for handing out on short notice – and it looks great!

Youth Season Launch

in past years this event has been a highlight of the preseason period. Players being presented to the club, the coaches’ expectations, presentation of club scarves, plus a general good feeling of positivity and great excitement. This year, the club’s numbers have increased considerably with the welcoming of our women’s teams, and so with the COVID restrictions on indoor gathering, it is just not possible to hold the same style of event in 2021 as previously. We had considered the option of ‘Live Streaming’ a virtual event, but that has also come with some obstacles. For this year only, we will transfer the Season Launch event up to Cooks Square Park. The 28th March will be a big day for the club, as it is the 1st home competition game for our WPL. We will duplicate the Season Launch event process, as best as possible, at an off-field location during the afternoon before the main game. Players will be treated with an ongoing supply of drinks and sausage sandwiches, plus get to share the excitement of the launch of Women’s Football for Maitland. More details on that event will come to you via Team App.

Player Handbook

The season 2021 edition is being completed this weekend and will be printed and assembled for distribution by the end of next week. It has specifically been printed to allow players and parents to keep it close at hand to cover any questions or concerns they may have, as well as ensuring that they have a full expectation of processes and disciplines. On receipt of your copy, please read through and sign the acknowledgement sheet and return that sheet to your manager.

Performance Training

As you know, the expectations of competitive level sport are constantly increasing. If we as a club, representing the Maitland region, wish to do justice to our role as the elite level football provider of our sport, we need to keep on developing and innovating.

So, in that regard, a special program has been devised by our Technical Directors, with involvement from Gary van Egmond and Paul Gomez.

The program will be called High-Performers Program (HPP).

Some details about the High-Performers Program –

  • Involvement in the HPP will be by invitation, but participation is non-compulsory.
  • Sessions will be held on 1 day each week, likely to be a Wednesday.
  • The program will be overviewed by Gary van Egmond and Paul Gomez and managed by TDs.
  • Players will be identified by coaching staff, TDs, GvE and P.G.
  • Players will move into the group, and out of the group, as determined.
  • Age Groups – U11s, U12s, U13s, U14s and U15s, for Boys and Girls.
  • The program will also run as a School Holiday Clinic, for alternate age groups.
  • The main focus of the program is to challenge the players ability under pressure and also their decision-making ability.
  • The program is timed to commence during the second half of March.
  • HPP is provided at no charge to the players, as it is funded by a special sponsorship revenue source from Maitland Toyota.

Further details are included in the Player Handbook.

The special Monday night sessions for the U9s and U10s, which are based on the principles of the previous program of HiPe, will continue under the management of Jason Hackett.

Ok, that is enough from me for this edition.

I conclude though by asking all players and parents to please be aware and appreciative of the tremendous amount of hard work, commitment and dedication that is applied by so many in this club, to make it the best it possibly can. There are still even more initiatives being developed in the background, that will be made public in time.

As Maitland Magpies, we represent the best players, in the highest elite competition in this region, and we want you all to be “Proud to be a Magpie”.

Play hard and train hard.

Ray Watkins

Maitland FC