Regional pride on line

Although the Steeline Limestone Coast Football Association Premiership Cup will be put on hold, there will still lots of soccer to soak up across the June long weekend.

The LCFA will be represented by nine teams across as many grades in the 2021 SAJSA Junior State Championships, while for the first time in half a decade, the region will field a senior side.

In a standalone clash, the Limestone Coast A Grade men coached by Tony D’Agostino, will resume acquaintances with the Riverland in the representative game.

The match has been introduced as an extension to the junior state championships so the seniors can  get a taste of representative foot- ball.

 The original plan was for the LCFA to face off with Whyalla, but it fell through and the Riverland came to the rescue and saved the game a fortnight ago.

So from 4.30pm on Sunday evening, it will be all systems go on the synthetic pitch at West Beach.

No less than 13 players have  been named as the lucky individuals to represent the LCFA at the  senior level for many years.

 Inspirational International players Matthew Bueti and Ricky  McRobert will co-captain the side and are joined by younger team mates Tyler Mchielan, Kaleb Gentile, Connor Prior and Austin Rossi.

Millicent’s Matt Grgetic will be the vice-captain and is joined by his compatriot Nick Chand.

 Apollo has strong representation with Tobbei Kennett, Sar Hay  Moo, Adam Walker and James Kipping with the latter likely to wear the goalkeeping gloves.

The new LCFA Steeline Cup premiers Gambier Centrals enjoy the services of Brayden Coppick and Broc Linden.

 D’Agostino said the on-and-off-again build up was not ideal for the  selection process with final players not picked until Monday night  but he believes the side has what it takes to take home the trophy.

“The late confirmation caused  a few headaches organising players, but I am happy with the final  squad,” he said.

“Although I understand the  Riverland league has strengthened since I say saw it around five years ago, I still like think we play at a slightly higher level.

“But we are going into the unknown and expecting a tough game and will do our best to bring the result home.” One disadvantage for the LCFA side could be the fact the first time it will walk onto the pitch as one  will be kick off on Sunday afternoon.

 The only time the group got together before the fixture was for a meeting on Wednesday night.

However, with the Steeline Cup wrapped up and the Premiership season already under way, players have plenty of match fitness under their belts.

D’Agostino said one area the team will not lack is pride, with  every member of the team honoured to wear the LCFA strip into  battle.

 “I spoke to every player individually to make sure they understood what it meant to represent  the leader and to their credit they are all very, very excited about it,” he said.

The Seniors showcase will run hand in hand with the main event, the 2021 SAJSA State Championships, which makes a  celebrated return after being cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

The LCFA will field sides in the Under 12 Development boys, Under 12 girls, Under 13 boys, Under 13 girls, Under 14 B boys, Under 15 boys and Under 16 boys and girls, which will fight against other associations with the goal of becoming the state’s number one.

Encouragingly the junior stars  have already formed close bonds  and friendships across the selection trials and training sessions.

 With Football SA talent scouts watching players like hawks in the stands, LCFA women’s director  Brian Corfield said the huge competition is a celebration of junior  soccer and tremendous opportunity for kids to enhance their  games.

“I’ll be really interested to see how the kids all go, but the end of the day, it’s really about playing with respect and enjoyment and not so much focused on winning tournaments and trophies,” he said.

“Hopefully they’ll enjoy the opportunity and learn a lot.”  Games begin on Saturday morning and are played across the  entire long weekend through to Monday evening.

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