New era of regional football dawns in Maryborough
A THREE-year deal with Queensland's leading football club will usher in a new era for regional football.
Maryborough State High School was named a School of Football yesterday, after the the school entered an agreement with three-time A-league champions Brisbane Roar.
It's the first time a school outside a capital city has been chosen by a leading football club, and is set to pave the way for aspiring Maryborough athletes to get into the professional A-league scene.
Under the deal, the team will host training and development courses with students at the college and at their training centre in Brisbane.
MSHS principal Simon Done said announcement meant aspiring players would have direct access from school-level football right through to state and national level.
"It's a force of great pride for me to be able to say we can match it with any school in Queensland, in relation to facilities and opportunities for kids,” Mr Done said.
"It means they don't need to leave regional Queensland to get those facilities, and our staff and students have that access to develop their skills.”
In addition, a $75,000 covered sports surface, funded under the State Government's Rebuilding Our Schools program, will be developed for soccer and hockey programs at the school.
Roar academy director Drew Sherman said the school had a history of sporting excellence and regularly succeeded in competitions across the state.
"They have a high enthusiasm for our sport, and that's something we're keen to promote and help grow,” Mr Sherman said.
"It might not generate players for Brisbane Roar in the short-term, but we hope to embed a culture of football in the area, have a presence and help support that.
"Hopefully, for junior players, it will mean they now don't have to leave and go to Brisbane to get access to high-level coaching.
"We'll be heavily involved in the area... and maintaining dialogue with their coaches here.”
The program links with a Football Academy already established at the school.
Under the program, students can also access university courses such as Sport and Exercise Science, Health and Sport Psychology as a more direct entry program without ATAR or OP requirements.
Head of Football Academy at MSHS Cameron Hanrahan said the School of Football program was a "game changer” for the region.