This article was written by Marisa Zammit.
Barely 12 months after coming last in the competition, the over 30s women’s football soccer team “Beryl’s Bells” – from Russell Lea Women’s Soccer Club – have taken the minor premiership title this year – for the first time in the club’s history.
The victory is particularly special as the team was named in memory of one of its players, Beryl Crockford, an Olympic silver medal winner who was tragically killed in 2016 in a cycling accident.
Team manager Marisa Zammit said Beryl was not only a skilful player on the field, but an inspiring team member who encouraged her colleagues to get involved in the sport regardless of skill or experience.
“In memory of Beryl, the Club has created a yearly award that is presented to a player that demonstrates characteristics like Beryl on and off the field,” Ms Zammit said.
“We are a mix of dedicated football players at all skill levels, with some of our members having played for over 20 years, while others have started playing only this season.
“A few mums in the team are coaches to their daughters’ junior teams at RLWSC and others are board members; they love team sports and have come back to the game after having a break to study, travel or care for the family.”
The team is led by volunteer coach, Dennys Vegara, a player in the over 35s men’s division from Abbotsford Juniors Football Club, who he has helped the ladies in their skill development and confidence on playing the ball at weekly training sessions and side line coaching.
“I am so proud of the ladies,” Mr Vegara said.
“They have come together and achieved a great result – from, last place to champions. It’s a truly amazing effort and I am thrilled to have been part of that success, and humbled by the hard work team members have put in, week in and week out.
” It’s been a great journey for me as coach to see the ladies develop their skills and enjoy playing the sport that I love.”
RLWSC is the only women’s only soccer club in NSW with both Junior and Senior teams.
The Club’s Vice President and player Jodie Wilson said: “Our club is focused on player enjoyment and player development and we cater for players from the age of five to over 50. We have a long history of promoting female soccer, starting off in the 1980s.”
Ms Wilson also congratulated all the teams that have made it to the finals:
Women Intermediate League, Division 3
Girls Under 12, Division 2
Girls Under 14, Division 1 – Final
Division 1 GMT – Grace Martin Trophy
Women All Age, Division 3
Women All Age, Division 4
Women over 30, Division 2