Corangamite Lions Soccer Club president and senior men's coach Jamie Norton is already seeing first-hand the impacts of the South West Victoria Football Association (SWVFA) expansion.
Norton says the Scotts Creek-based club is in tremendous shape leading into the season which kicks off on Sunday May 1, with the Lions set for three senior sides and an under 14 team after the SWVFA confirmed a second men's division and a dedicated women's division in 2022.
"To be able to transition kids that aren't quite ready for senior sport, I've always believed there was a bit of a hole there and the second division competition helps that," he told The Standard.
"It's great that the league has been able to provide that as well. We're pleased with the direction of the league.
"I'm really pleased with how it's going, but it's exciting and we're getting more publicity as the league grows.
"We're hopeful that as the league grows we'll continue to grow. To be able to have the numbers to even think of doing that shows the growth in the sport."
Norton will coach both the senior men's side and the reserves men's side which will compete in the second division.
He said the talent at training and through practice matches had been exciting for the club with the Lions also locking in a second facility this season at Mockridge Park in Camperdown.
"We had the senior men's practice matches with a few reserves players in it on Sunday, so that was good and a lot of kids got a run," he said.
"We've shown some great signs and we think a lot of talent will be running out our reserves sides and hopefully we transition them through the back-end of the season into some senior games.
"It's an exciting time for us for a lot reasons."
As president, Norton has been a major catalyst in bringing together the club's first ever women's side this season, describing it as a proud moment for the Lions.
The side will be coached by Willow Smith in the inaugural women's division.
"It's pretty exciting for us, mainly because there's a lot of young girls coming out of the under 16s that want to stay together as a group," he said.
"They've developed nicely as players and we've picked up a couple of mid-aged girls as well to help them out so it's a new avenue and venturing into senior sport which is terrific for the sport."
The SWVFA will kick-off on Sunday May 1 with the men to play a 14-round season. The juniors will play a 14-round season, with the women's division to play 12 rounds.
All grand finals will be played on September 11.
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