All-weather soccer for locals

Cr Rosalie Crestani shows her love for the game. 173966 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Here’s a game-changer for local soccer – a $1.7 million synthetic-turf soccer field with lights at Gleneagles Secondary College, Endeavour Hills.
The pitch is described as the first artificial soccer facility in Casey’s north, indeed on “this side” of Melbourne – a sorely needed pitch for students and up to a dozen soccer clubs to play and train.
Its benefits are that it can be played in all-weather, and does not need to close to resow and regenerate its turf.
“It will get as much use as is possible,” says Casey councillor Rosalie Crestani.
“My understanding is we need to provide more facilities to give the clubs in the area that extra training turf and playing field.”
A handy soccer player at school level, Cr Crestani is still a big fan of the game.
“It’s such a big, growing sport that we need to support it.
“It might outgrow AFL one day.”
The facility has been jointly funded by the State Government ($1.415 million), the school ($100,000) with the balance from Casey Council.
Casey is also committed to managing the construction and long-term maintenance of the school and community joint-facility.
Cr Crestani paid tribute to Gleneagles principal Sue Peddlesden, Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan and her former co-ward councillor Rafal Kaplon in helping kick along the cause for close to eight years.
Ms Peddlesden said the long lobbying effort began with an election pledge of $500,000 from the Brumby Government in 2010.
It was a relief to replace the “paddock” with a purpose-built facility, she said.
“We’re confident this turf will be able to withstand the use in the school day, after hours and on weekends for the next 10-15 years.”
The project is expected to go to tender in January 2018, and be finished by July.