Leading into the commencement of the 2018 season, we sat down with Football Gold Coast General Manager Damien Bresic to talk all things football; from upcoming initiatives, progression in his time in charge and the what lies ahead, see what he had to say below!
MM: Firstly Damien thank you for taking the time out to join me today. Let’s start by asking how the preparation for the 2018 season has gone so far for you this season?
DB: No problems. Preparations so far have gone relatively smoothly as prepare for the start of our season. We are still three weeks away from the kick off and we already have over 6,000 registered players, which is 2/3 of the way to our 2017 total so the early indication are positive. Our nominations will be finalised soon and then we start work on the draws but I am confident that we will be on top of things. Although we do face a disruptive season ahead, it looks like we will be okay!
MM: As you mentioned there the disruption throughout the entire Gold Coast due to the Commonwealth Games, how do you think that will effect the competitions here on the Gold Coast?
DB: The Commonwealth Games are a once in a lifetime event and we need to support such an event. I believe we have done enough groundwork leading into the back end of last year through October and November to prepare not only ourselves for the 2018 season but our clubs also. With the early start, we have introduced the lightning premierships for our competitions across the junior level, as well as starting a Pre-Season Cup competition for the senior mens. I am hopeful that our early preparation will alleviate any problems that otherwise we might have encounter and that we won’t feel the disruption too much and we can enjoy the Commonwealth Games.
MM: Recently you signed a deal with Club Health and Wellness as a major sponsor for the organisation, tell us a bit about the deal and what it means for Football Gold Coast?
DB: As any organisation will tell you any sponsorship is great and sponsors monies help us do that little more. I believe it shows that we are doing something right across the board and that other businesses are happy to associate their brand with ours. Dr. Chris Jackson and Miss. Judie have been with us for three years now with Junior Jaws and were happy to expand their contribution with us. They are local people who love life and want to share their passion and good fortune with others. Their contribution will help us bring more initiatives throughout the organisation by increasing our media exposure and being able to communicate with our members directly rather than relying on our clubs more often than not.
MM: You are close to entering your sixth year in the role, what progression have you seen the organisation take in your time at the helm?
DB: It’s always hard to judge how everything is going from a personal point of view, but some boring statistics show the increase we have had. Our player numbers have increase by almost 20% in that time as well as our cash reserves doubling. Some clubs may think we haven’t done as well but considering the battles we have had to face with NPL and so on it’s been an interesting time. We face even more challenging years ahead with the introduction of a new NPL franchise as well as another coming in 2019, two new WPL licenses and SAP programs so we need to ensure we are always ahead of the ball. I think overall we can say that we have been transparent and open to our clubs. I tend to think we have been more accommodating and listened to our clubs. Although the outcome might not always be ideal for them we do listen!
“I tend to think we have been more accommodating and listened to our clubs. Although the outcome might not always be ideal for them, we do listen!”
MM: In your eyes, what is the state of our competitions as a whole on the Gold Coast?
DB: Overall I feel we are in a good space , our mini roo’s are well run and we have good numbers our junior competition is growing and there is more and more teams entering in the JPL division . We are struggling in the women’s competition, although our Metro Division has proved extremely popular our Women’s Premier League has declined and it is something that needs immediate attention but we will not let it defeat us. We have tabled a number of possibilities such as a possible merge with Brisbane, merging the Premier League and the Coast League and try to rebrand/rebuild. We need to look at stabilising our mens competition after the loss of two senior clubs in Merrimac and Magic for 2019. It is the first year that three new teams will enter the Premier League (Tweed, Mudgeeraba and Nerang) so I am interested to see how they adjust. The Coast League One sees three of our Premier League clubs have secondary teams that some clubs applauded and others disagreed with but let us see how it goes and if they treat the competitions with the respect they deserve.
MM: What do you see for Football Gold Coast in the long-term vision (5-10 years)?
DB: I’d like to see our numbers increase to over 10,000 registered players. It is an increase of 10%, which I believe can be reached. We really need to focus on the recruitment and development of our referees , without match officials we don’t have a game so that is an area that really needs our attention. I believe with the appointment of Craig O’Neill as the Referee Development Coordinator we are on the correct path developing the next Jarrod Gillett. We need something that is ours and that we can call home which Emerald Lakes could provide. So I would like us to progress with the plan to develop that. All in all , increase playing numbers, develop our referee’s and build a home.
MM: What new initiatives are you looking at bringing to the table for the 2018 season?
DB: There have been talks of the Community Cup which is a re-invention of the old state titles. There has not been much song and dance about that specifically but the proposal has been to send regional based teams to Mackay to compete. I’m excited to see how that goes overall and we should have more information on that in due time. I would like to see the FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds get a revamp. Bar the first year here on the Gold Coast when we had seven teams enter, it would be interesting to see a South-East Queensland based qualification method be brought to the table. Overall the biggest thing I am looking at is securing the home of Football Gold Coast as well as developing officials to bring in our game. We are really trying hard to make it as attractive as possible for our officials by providing them with the best equipment as well as educating them to the best possible standard.
MM: What is your final message to all your members leading into the 2018 season?
DB: My final message would be- please have patience. We are set for a disruptive year with an early start. We know that cricket and nippers seasons are still going but bear with us, we have things in place to alleviate some concerns. We are not the bad ogre as we are here help. Overall I would like everyone to not only respect themselves on the field but their opponents, fellow players and coaches. I look forward to seeing you all throughout a big 2018 for football on the Gold Coast.