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Rānui Swanson Football Club’s on the ball

The beautiful game is going from strength to strength at Rānui Swanson Football Club. This community club is based at Te Poi Starling Park and has around 400 enthusiastic footballers taking to the field each week.

‘We cater to a diverse range of players with one goal: getting as many of our community playing football as possible,’ says club president Rebecca Hochuli.

Set up in 1979, the number of players has steadily grown over the years. However, last year saw a significant increase. Rebecca says there was a 60% uptick in members last season. And with registrations still open, this season is on track for even more.

Rānui Swanson FC has seen more women and girls participate than ever. Thanks, in large part, to last year’s successful FIFA Women’s World Cup, interest in girls and women’s football has exploded. Rebecca says the club now boasts two senior women’s teams, and the number of junior girls teams has grown from two to five.

The club caters for all ages and abilities, from competitive players to social ones. The First Kicks programme is for young players aged from four, and the masters have footballers in their 60s.

Rebecca says the club has an outstanding team of mostly volunteer coaches and managers. A great example of the community spirit that fuels the club is the under-17 team. This group of dedicated local rangatahi run the junior programme for 4-6-year-olds. They organise and manage weekly training sessions and oversee match day on Friday evenings.

The club has outstanding facilities at Te Poi Starling Park, with a floodlight artificial turf and a game-day grass pitch. There are also two grass fields for training and practice.

Footballers can enjoy a post-match catch-up with their teammates and whānau in the clubrooms. Available for community hire, the clubrooms are a popular local spot for celebrations and special events.

The club is run by a volunteer committee, and fees are kept as low as possible to ensure that football is accessible to everyone. However, the huge growth in players has put pressure on the club’s resources.

Rānui Swanson FC applied to the 2023 Your West Support Fund, and the $8,877 has been put to good use. The club has invested in new goals, balls, training kit and match-day uniforms. ‘It’s made a massive difference,’ says Rebecca. ‘The additional resources have helped ensure coaches and teams have the best possible experience,’ she adds.

The football season is about to kick off, but it's not too late to get involved. Rebecca's message to anyone thinking about resuming or taking up football is simple: come on down and join in.

Check out Rānui Swanson FC’s website for all you need to know. And follow the club on Facebook for the latest updates.