Soccer academy kicks on after Liverpool link ends
THREE months after the shock closure in June of the Liverpool Football Club International Academy in Lismore, a new entity, has risen from the ashes.
The Northern Rivers Football Academy head coach Gavin Whitney, said it was due to the amazing work of players, parents, and community members who created a steering committee led by former state politician Thomas George.
"It's a real win for the beautiful game in a year which has seen so much despair," Whitney said.
"For something that was so good to have it pulled out from under us was a massive low, so this is tremendous news and a massive relief for the players who participate in high performance football in the area."
NRFA will continue to use the former LA facilities in East Lismore and appropriately, its logo is phoenix, Whitney said.
"We signed the lease yesterday, SCU have been helpful we appreciate their assistance," he said.
"The NRFA as a registered organisation and we are seeking sponsorships."
Momentum also came from Oliver Hoath-Bastion, 11, who launched a petition to save the Academy which quickly garnered almost 3000 signatures.
Support also came from Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith, State Member Janelle Saffin, Federal Member, Kevin Hogan and former Socceroo Craig Foster.
Encouraged by this groundswell of support, the Academy coaching team and staff came together determined to find a solution.
Whitney said the Italo Australia Club and Italo Stars FC "were the first to put their hands up and help us out by generously offering their grounds as a training facility."
"Murwillumbah FC, a regular competitor in the Gold Coast Premier League, took the displaced Academy teams under its wing," he said.
"They allowed us to play out the 2020 season through their club."
The NRFA will provide a full range of high-performance programs for boys and girls in the 12 to 16 age groups, development programs for 8 to 11-year-olds, holiday skills development clinics and programs for schools.
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