Enthusiastic Goodna juniors benefit from Pride Cup
SEEING the wonderful opportunities being presented in Ipswich's Pride Cup competition is giving Goodna State School principal Nathan Eiby as much satisfaction as the young footballers.
Eiby is delighted to have his school side involved in the newly-formed under-12 tournament being run by National Premier Leagues club Western Pride.
"It's the first time they've set it up and from a Goodna point of view, the boys are really enthusiastic,'' the principal said.
"We're actually using this as not just about development of football skills but about developing all those qualities it takes to be in a team, and to be someone who is a great ambassador for the school.
"It's about cultural change for us too in terms of how kids see themselves.''
Goodna is one of the smaller schools fielding a team in the series focusing on fun, participation and development.
Eiby said the Pride Cup was a valuable competition with so much school sport and regular gala days affected by the coronavirus restrictions.
"The challenge we've got this year is because of COVID, school sport is really getting rationalised,'' he said.
"It's tough because you've got to have all these COVID compliance measures, which is understandable. It makes normal operations very difficult to run.''
He applauded Western Pride for establishing a school friendly competition under COVID safe plans.
"I know they've got all the protocols in place so it was like 'let's get our kids out there and give them this opportunity','' Eiby said.
Goodna State School caters for students from prep to year six.
Eiby said his Goodna team contesting the Pride Cup included five or six "gun little'' players already being identified by Western Pride coaches.
He said another 10 youngsters were developing in a positive environment.
"That's the whole point of this,'' Eiby said, having been a principal at different schools over the past 22 years.
"I know some schools there at Pride Cup, their developmental pyramid is probably a bit skewed to ours. They are probably a little bit further up towards the top part of the curve.
"But for me, it was about getting more kids involved, giving more kids opportunities to represent their school, to be ambassadors for the school, to be a part of a team.''
He welcomed Pride coaches and officials helping his young students advance their talents.
Western Pride ran a four-week course for the Goodna kids before the Pride Cup was launched.
"It's a whole developmental pyramid,'' the school principal said.
"They (Pride) are dealing with getting kids at a certain level and then continuing to develop them for those pathways.
"They have got great facilities down there. They have great coaches.''
Eager to set young players up for future success, Eiby was pleased to see three school deputy principals attend the latest round of matches at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
"Which went down really well with the kids just to have that level of support,'' Eiby said.
In Wednesday's games, Kruger beat Walloon 5-3, The Renegades accounted for Goodna 6-2 and Stretton defeated an Invitational side 3-0.
Ipswich Grammar School had a comfortable win over Ipswich State High.
Ipswich Grammar football co-ordinator and Pride men's team head coach Andrew Catton praised the Ipswich High players for their commitment against more experienced opponents.
"The participation aspect of it is fantastic and it is fantastic to see the never-say-die attitude being displayed by many players,'' Catton said.
"I was very impressed with the way the boys and girls on the Ipswich State High team went about it yesterday, despite the score line.
"I was equally proud of the way the IGS boys were so humble and respectful of their opponent.''
The Pride Cup continues next Wednesday.