Ambitious St George Football Association side Ramsgate RSL FC have been working hard behind the scenes for quite some time, led by an amazing management group in ensuring the club continues to service its members across all levels of the game. 

Club Secretary Jamie James has been impressed with its 2020’s figures albeit being hit by COVID-19, Ramsgate RSL FC have been able to register over 420 players across 38 teams with junior female registrations increasing by 27% this season.

“Like all clubs across Australia we all prepared well over the off season looking forward to season 2020 though COVID-19 hit as the year was about to start.

“In the early days we were not sure if players and teams would sit out the year, though as the restrictions eased our members have been amazing with all our teams who registered at the start of the season deciding to play, once the green light was given to start training and play games by the authorities.”

Female football especially has been growing yearly as Ramsgate RSL FC continues to lead the way in the St George Football Association area in promoting the sport to potential future Matildas.

James was proud of the club’s achievements as Ramsgate RSL FC had a plan to raise the level of female football awareness within the area six years ago.

“Six years ago we were one of the first, if not the first football club to appoint an executive position to promote and drive female football by introducing a Senior Vice President for Women and Girls Football. Since then we have made strides in the community to recruit and retain talented female players.

“In 2016 we won the AIA Vitality MiniRoos competition to a sum of $10,000 in which we used as an incentive in the 2017 season to recruit junior female players and offer free registrations. Quite expectedly we increased our female players and led the charge within the St George Football Association and began to form Non-Comp Female only teams starting at Under 6 Girls.

“We have had success in our female competitions with several teams making and winning their respective Grand Finals.

“We currently have a total of 11 female players participating in the St George Football Association Part Time Girls SAP in all 4 age groups in 2020.

“In 2019 we had the pleasure of awarding one of our senior female players a Life Membership as a result of her commitment and 20 plus years playing for our club. Dannielle Finlay-Jones has since been invited to be on the SGFA’s Female Football Sub Committee which is again promoting and growing Female Football throughout the association

“The passion from our Junior Vice President Corinna Tiliacos in driving our junior girl program since 2016 is starting to reap the rewards with a number of our teams now playing in ‘A’ grade as the clubs female registrations continue to grow.”

The club has also assisted in the overall promotion of further developing players across all age groups as well as coaches who have since kicked on further chasing elite player and coaching pathways in NSW.

“Creating a consistent approach to the coaching of our players has been a goal of ours in recent times and this year we put this into practice with our offering of Coach the Coach sessions. Within these sessions our Coaches had the opportunity to seek further guidance into team formation, drills, warm-ups and strategies to take back to their team to further their skills, knowledge and abilities on and off the field.

“We are currently in the process of solidifying our Strategic Plan where we have identified the actions and goals required to further develop our players including an expansion of our Monday night player academy to help them progress to higher levels of Football.

“This year alone we have 11 Female Players in the Girls SAP Program which clearly highlights our club’s ability to develop players including many boys not only this year though in the past who have gone onto play with our development pathways club St George City FA.

“One professional player always comes to mind when we think of the top level in Australian Football; Teresa Polias. She first began her Footballing career right here at Ramsgate RSL FC before moving on to another local community club.

“Overall our goal is to develop players, teams and coaches to reach the highest level of Football while maintaining the safety and confidence of all our members.”

Along with James who has been at the club for nine years now, four as Club Secretary, Club President Leo Blanda has been instrumental in his seven year tenure as the Chief up top in weaving his magic with the hope of progressing the club even further year upon year across many levels of the sport.

Facility upgrades have been another major talking point with Scarborough Park East the proud home of the club.

“After many years with juniors playing at one home ground and seniors at another in 2017 with the support of the SGFA and Bayside Council, we now call Scarborough Park East home,” said James.

“As part of the move, council upgraded the amenities to include a new canteen which has been fantastic and re-turfed the main field in 2018.

“We are looking forward to finishing the final touches on our home ground with the SGFA and Bayside Council in the near future in finalising the upgrade to include irrigation and lighting across all fields.”

Volunteers have played a pivotal role in the running of the club for a number of years now and with a total of 80 registered for the 2020 season, James paid homage to the amazing dedication they have continued to pull through week in week out in serving its dedicated members.

“Volunteers are the back-bone of our Community Club; we have a total of 80 registered Coaches and Volunteers and that is before any mum, dad, grandparent, aunty, uncle or friend offer a helping hand in setting up of fields, extra hands in the Canteen, support at training sessions or on game days.

“While we have a strong Executive Committee made up of men and women, it is essentially with the volunteers and coaches that maintain the reputation of our club and our up and coming players.”

The club’s wonderful work and achievements has been recognised by St George Football Association CEO Craig Kielly who praised Ramsgate RSL FC that have continued to kick goals on and off the park.

“Ramsgate RSL is one of the strongest and proudest football clubs in the St George Football Association.

“We are working closely with the Club in a number of areas, including advocating and supporting for improved facilities at Scarborough Park East.

“SGFA is also pleased how the Club have embraced our girls SAP this season. They have a number of talented players playing in the part-time program, which allows them to continue to play for their club, whilst also representing the SGFA every second weekend.”