Queensland club Western Pride have ambitions of being in the A-League and are after an FFA Cup run to help put them on the national map.
The NPL Queensland side tackle Queensland Lions in the fifth round of the Cup tonight.
Founded only in 2012, the Pride were set up to provide a career pathway in football for the youth of Ispwich.
The eventual goal of the club is to one day have a license in the A-League.
“This was founded by the five clubs in Ipswich, they actually applied for the license in the NPL,” Pat Boyle, Western Pride general manager, told FourFourTwo.
“Something of this magnitude haven’t been in our region for some time and when we won the license it was a great stepping stone for the children of the region, both male and female.
“With the support that we get from, in particular Mayor Paul Pisasale, councillor David Morrison and Ipswich city council, it’s a driving goal for them to have a national competition within our region.
“Whether it’s rugby league, football, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever gets the opportunity in this region it will show the rest of the country that this region can facilitate a national competition.”
Western Pride have a clear focus on youth development and giving opportunity to young players.
“At Pride we work on developing the guys,” Boyle said.
“In our top side our average age is 18 and three-quarters. I think we have two guys that are actually over the age of 20. What we’re all about is giving those guys the tools to succeed at the next level.
“We want to develop our guys so that if they do get the opportunity in professional football, it’s not as much a dramatic jump for that.”
In a short period of time the FFA Cup has shone a light on football clubs outside of the A-League and the Pride hope that they can share in that spotlight this year.
Boyle is a fan of the competition and said his team is ready to face the Lions, who enjoyed a magic spell in the Cup in 2015.
“For the growth of the sport in this country, I think it’s fantastic,” he said.
“For NPL clubs, community clubs right thing to the A-League to have an opportunity to play each other, it’s fantastic.
“The squad is all ready and raring to go. We’ve had a very good season so far. Although a few results haven’t gone our way, our football and what we’re trying to achieve with our football, we’re very happy with where we’re at at this point.
“We approach every game that we run into with the same level of commitment and attitude. In a cup game anyone on their day is there for the taking.”comments