MANDURAH City has been included in the PlayStation 4 National Premier League’s WA competition for the 2017 season.
It will join Joondalup United in the expanded 14-team competition.
Mandurah City president Tony Dyson said the club’s phones have been ringing off the hook since the announcement was made on Thursday with calls from potential players wanting to try out for the club.
“We need to find more sponsors as well as we will now be representing Mandurah and the Peel region in the second highest level competition in Australia,” he said.
“Commercially there is a fantastic opportunity for local business to join us to really promote our city and region.”
A Football West spokesman said the announcement overturns a recent decision to make no changes for next year’s season.
It acknowledged recent challenges relating to promotion and relegation and wished to reassure members of its commitment to improving the game both on and off the field.
“Football West will reassess NPL eligibility criteria and provide further clarity for clubs seeking promotion to the top tier beyond next season,” he said.
He said the inclusion of Mandurah City in the senior, under 20 and under 18 competitions would further extend NPL benefits to one of WA soccer’s growth areas.
“Participation rates have spiked by more than 4 per cent above the state average in the areas around Mandurah over the past four years, while overall registrations in WA are at a record high of 44,000,” he said.
Mandurah City lost just four games last season and finished second in the State League and was preparing for another year in the second tier competition.
“This year, because of a legal challenge against relegation by Subiaco FC and a potential second challenge from 2016 State League champions, Joondalup United, Football West has opted to increase the competition by two clubs with Subiaco retaining their spot,” Mr Dyson said.
He called for the Peel region to support the team in the newly expanded league.
“We have an NPL standard facility, the best coaching staff in the State and now an NPL spot to showcase what Mandurah is all about,” he said.
“There is a lot of work to do, but we will be ready – and ready to compete.”
The 2017 NPLWA will be a 26-week competition and the salary cap will remain at the 2016 level.
The additional competition weeks will be absorbed through the modification of the 2017 Night Series.
League composition 2017
The Junior NPL will consist of the senior clubs listed plus:
South West Phoenix.