After a testing year on the field, largely through a lack of numbers, optimism is slowly starting to bubble away within the inner sanctum of Cobram Roar’s senior women’s side.
The Roar finished second bottom in the Albury Wodonga Football Association reserves competition this season, which re-signed coach Christopher Gash put down to a host of reasons.
‘‘It was very much a re-building year for us this season. We improved in a few areas but we had a lack of numbers that made it really difficult to establish any sort of continuity in training,’’ he said.
‘‘I think once the numbers are there you can start to work on the style of play and the way we want to play is attacking and passing football. When you’ve only got five or six players at training it’s hard to teach the girls how to play.’’
Gash said the club had lost several players due to a mixture of reasons, including wanting to have a year off, going to university or simply losing interest in the sport.
He said the trend of losing female players had not only hurt Cobram, but had been felt across the entire AWFA competition.
‘‘I believe the league has lost about 40 women players in the last season, so we are definitely hoping to boost those numbers back up,’’ Gash said.
‘‘With the new clubrooms that will be built here next year having female-friendly facilities, we think it’s a really exciting time to be a female soccer player in Cobram.’’
Although numbers in the senior ranks dropped, Gash had faith female numbers at Cobram would climb again thanks to strong participation at junior level.
‘‘The Cobram Junior Soccer Association has plenty of good young female players and I think with the Matildas being successful at the moment, the sport’s popularity can grow again for women interested in playing the game,’’ he said.
Looking ahead to next season, the coach believes rising star Alyssa Iannucci will be one player to keep a close eye on, while the club was is in the midst of trying to sign a couple of new players as well as previous Roar representatives.
‘‘There are a couple of names looking to come into the fold next season and we always welcome new players, regardless of their experience,’’ he said.
The club’s preseason has started and Gash was keen to restore the Roar to its former glory.
‘‘Historically, Cobram has had a really strong women’s team, but it’s dropped off in the last two or three years,’’ he said.
‘‘In saying that, I know all the girls here now are pretty determined to make sure we get back up there again.’’
The side’s captain Nakita Goegan said while 2018 was challenging on a number of fronts, she was confident things could quickly turn around next season.
‘‘It was a little bit disheartening at times because of the lack of numbers, but I think we grew a stronger bond because there were so few of us,’’ she said.
‘‘I think if we can add a couple of players to the mix next year it will definitely make it more enjoyable. We always have a good time anyway, but it’s always good to win and get a bit more competitive.’’