After getting through one of the most challenging years on record for local sport Macarthur Football Association (MFA) has set its sights on signing up a record 11,000 players for the 2021 season.
General manager Salv Carmusciano said he was excited for the future of the game following a year in which the resilience of the club and its players had been tested.
"Football helped our community through last year," Mr Carmusciano said. "Despite everything the year threw at us almost 10,000 players hit the park once community football began in July 2020.
"The season was delayed by three months due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and for a while there was no guarantee that community sport was going to kick off in what were unprecedented times."
The club boss said in the end it was the actions of the community, who respected the health advice and did what was asked of them, that got the sport to the starting line. "More than 800 teams, including 100-plus female teams, signed on once the Sports Minister announced a return to community sport in mid-June," Mr Carmusciano said.
"Keeping community sport going was another challenge in itself, with heavy restrictions in place to curb community transmissions.
"For that reason the MFA is incredibly proud of the 23 member clubs and the volunteers for their tireless work in support of the local community."
The association oversees football competition for 23 member clubs across Campbelltown, Camden and Wollondilly. It promotes an inclusive approach which caters for all segments of the community.
MiniRoos Football offers a fun introduction to primary-aged boys and girls via small sides games.
Girl's only football is the fastest growing segment of the game, with girls as young as five taking part girls-only teams (4 v 4), against other girls-only teams.
The 11-a-side football competition begins with the Under 12 age group and there are a variety of divisions throughout the Youth Leagues (12-18) to cater for varying skill levels. The MFA also offers Girls Youth Football for each age group from 12.
Mr Carmusciano said Senior Football (those aged over 19 and above) was incredibly popular in Macarthur, with 10 Men's Divisions and 5 Women's Divisions registered in 2020. That number is expected to grow further in 2021.
There are also Over 35's and Over 45's Leagues which are very popular. Those games are played on Friday nights.
To find out more you can go to the association website: macarthurfootball.com.au or find your nearest club and register to play at www.playfootball.com.au.