SOMETHING as simple as handing out a drink bottle emblazoned with the club logo will be Port Saints’ different way of greeting the stars of tomorrow.
Their under-6 and under-7 age groups will take to the field this weekend as Saints unofficially launch the football season.
Club secretary Laura Noble said their numbers for 2021 have provided them with confidence they will be around for many seasons.
They have bounced back remarkably well from the COVID-impacted season 12 months ago.
“Our club has recovered to 100 percent of our 2019 numbers,” Ms Noble said.
“It’s been a fantastic recovery; we dropped off about 80 players last year and thought it was going to be a lot more so we were happy with that, but we’re sitting at around 98.7 percent of our 2019 numbers.”
But the early focus will be on the first-year age groups who missed out last season and who will start their football journey in 2021.
This weekend the club will hold a special event on Saturday for their under-6 and under-7 divisions because numerous players missed last season because of COVID.
It’s a good opportunity for them to meet their new coach and team members and then prepare to train for a couple of weeks before the season starts.
Within 10 years it is hoped they will be playing in the Coastal Premier League.
“We’re really working towards building that connection between our senior teams with the sixes and sevens in particular so we can start building that aspirational pathway for them,” Ms Noble said.
“If you don’t get them young then they can drop off or go to other codes so we try to focus on them as they enter the club so they’ve got the best possible experience so we can keep them on board for years to come.”
And something as simple as a drink bottle could be the key.
“I can’t wait to get down there and we hand out drink bottles because for that age group it’s like you’re giving them this amazing gift.”