Port Fairy Soccer Club president Woody Bucci says there is an "exciting" vibe spreading around the club ahead of the season.
After a successful inaugural season last year in the South West Victoria Football Association, the Plovers are setting the bar high and are soaring with strong numbers at training so far this pre-season.
Bucci - who started the club alongside his mate Leon Morton last year - told The Standard the club was looking forward to growing with more teams this season.
"It's a really exciting period for the club," he said.
"Last year in our inaugural season we were really successful and felt really supported by our local community and other soccer clubs in the area.
"The Warrnambool Wolves in particular were really great with mentorship and helping us set up the club.
"But this year we've got a women's team starting, and outside of netball in Port Fairy it'll be one of the only female sporting sides representing the town which is very exciting.
"Cassandra Jarrad is our women's coordinator and she's taking the reins with the team and they're looking to compete this year.
"We're looking to also having an under 12 boys and under 12 girls representing us as well, and we're hoping these under 12 teams will follow through and keep building in the next few years and go on to under 14 and under 16s. It's an exciting year and on top of that we've got our senior men back again.
"We should have a reserves team as well but that's still pending on whether the league can get a reserves competition off the ground."
The Plovers' senior men finished in fifth position in their first season before COVID intervened again, winning five games in a promising campaign that delivered plenty of highlights. Defensively the Plovers were among some of the top teams in the competition, conceding just 23 goals.
Bucci said the club's Mini Roos program, which had around 106 participants last year, would go to another level with kids from the region flocking to play the game.
"It was unbelievable really for the first year of a club, and it shows the appetite for soccer in the area particularly with the kids," he said.
"Hopefully those kids can keep pushing through for us."
He added he was both "surprised and unsurprised" at the interest in the club within a year.
"Soccer is the highest participation sport in Australia and around the world," he said.
"In the south-west the game has been growing steadily over a few years, but I've been surprised in the sense because this area of Victoria has traditionally been a real football, cricket and netball stronghold and soccer hasn't really been a huge participation sport.
"But more and more people are looking to lower impact sports both at senior and junior levels so in that respect I'm not surprised.
"Port Fairy is such an amazing community in support and the community supports anything going on, so we've certainly found that.
"The community has wrapped their hands around us and helped with participation rates, supporters and also sponsorship."
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