Exciting times on the Mornington Peninsula, as October 2021 will mark the launch of the MPJFL Academy! The Academy will offer a wide variety of development opportunities to participants and coaches within the region, and aims to stimulate both players within the pathway system as well as at club level.

The interleague structure has been growing periodically over the last few years, particularly with the emergence of women’s football, so the timing is perfect for the MPJFL to expand on the existing program to provide participants from across the league the opportunity to develop.

The launch of the MPJFL Academy is a major step in the leagues growth and will act as a strong entry point into the player pathway system that will hopefully lead players to the regions NAB League affiliate, the Dandenong Stingrays.

The MPJFL has long endeavored to create extra opportunities for players within the region, showcased through an extended Division 2 program as well as initiating relationships with leagues in Tasmania and AFL New Zealand to facilitate tours annually. The Academy will encompass all existing representative programs, and expand on these to implement a league-wide, holistic development approach to engage and advance football within the region.

The establishment of the Academy will of course mean there is greater need for professional intervention, and the MPJFL has been pro-active in securing the services of several specialist coaches who are extremely excited to be on board.

The launch of the Academy has been a goal of Development Manager and President Andrew Souter for some time now, and he is extremely excited to see what it can do for football within the MPJFL.

“Interleague is very important to us at the MPJFL, but the academy is more than that. We are looking to offer opportunities that we previously haven’t been able to, to really grow the league from within” Andrew Said.

“One of the goals of the Academy, which has been difficult in the past, is to remain engaged with players unsuccessful in making the final interleague teams, to establish a clear pathway to keep them motivated for the following year” Andrew Continued. “We are also excited to put framework in place for coaches within the MPJFL, as this will help the players within the league on and off the field”.

Andrew also praised the work of Marc Bressan, who has come on board with the MPJFL to spearhead the female development program. “Marcs ability to teach and connect with the players is second to none, its great to have him on board”. Marc coached the Under 15 Girls Interleague teams in 2021 and hails from the Mount Martha Junior Football Club.

The Academy training period will begin over summer, with the Under 13 and Under 13/14 Girls programs running from October well into the new year. These programs will be a great introduction for these players, and will allow them to hit the ground running, as they will transition straight into the trial period for the 2022 MPJFL Interleague teams.

Stay tuned for more Academy news, as major announcements are in the pipeline in regard to program collaborators and plans for the new year.