Federal Member for the Seat of Dobell, Karen McNamara, officially opened Stage One of the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence in Tuggerah today.
McNamara, together with Central Coast Mariners Chief Executive Officer, Mr Bruce Stalder, joined a variety of local politicians, the Club’s players and staff, as well as media, at the official opening as the Mariners shone the spotlight on the first part of their multi-million dollar development.
“I am delighted to officially open this new campus which will have a number of benefits for the community such as improved sporting and recreational facilities, increased tourism and visitation to the region, as well as the capability to provide venues for visiting teams such as the Socceroos,” McNamara said.
“The Federal Government has strongly supported the development of this Sporting Campus and is committed to funding projects that will not only boost productivity and growth but also help ensure the long term viability and longevity of our communities.”
Stage One of the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence features an Aquatic Centre managed by YMCA Swim Schools, eight five-a-side and two seven-a-side all weather pitches leased to Soccer5s, plus a tournament sized football pitch which provides the primary base for Central Coast Mariners first team training.
The venue also currently features football offices, physiotherapy rooms, an on-site gym, two changing rooms complete with bathrooms and showers, and the licensed Copa Café attached to Soccer5s.
An average of 1,500 enthusiastic local footballers passed through the Soccer5s complex each week over the last year, and the site has already been utilised for Foxtel National Youth League matches and served as a training venue for the Socceroos and Young Socceroos.
McNamara said facilities such as those available at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence were crucial for the people of the region.
“Staying healthy and active is an important part of our Central Coast lifestyle both for adults and children,” McNamara said.
“Our love of sport is one of the reasons why I am determined to see the Central Coast become the Sports Tourism Capital of New South Wales,” she concluded.
Work on Stage Two of the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence will commence in November and feature a six-storey office block, a gym and fitness centre for community use, as well as additional car parking.
Once complete, the development will be one of the premier sports training facilities of its kind in Australia, reaffirming the Club’s commitment to the Central Coast, its people and ambitions.
“The Mariners are one of the most successful Clubs in Australia and certainly the best community Club,” Chairman Michael Charlesworth said from England. “Likewise our training and community facilities need to match our ambitions and what people saw today is a perfect example of this.”
“Our vision is to build a long term sustainable model that enables the Club to be based here in Tuggerah for the next 100 years with the facilities eventually becoming the home of all the Australian national football teams.”
“I want football to one day become the biggest sport in Australia and our national teams to be competing to win the major tournaments globally just like we achieve in so many other sports. Our Centre of Excellence with the wonderful support of the Federal and local governments can help achieve this goal.”
Charlesworth also praised everyone who has been part of the Centre of Excellence vision over the past five years.