By Ivan Carter
The annual presentation night for the Daylesford Hepburn United Soccer Club was held last Friday at the Town Hall, with 150 people present to see Club President Ivan Carter declare that a this year was the most successful year for local soccer in over a decade.
A local Under 9s competition was held, and Daylesford fielded Under 11s, Under 13s, Under 15s and Seniors’ teams in the Ballarat and District Soccer Association league, for the first time in its history.
The Club has gone from strength to strength in 2014, “we even managed to provide the league’s best and healthiest canteen as identified by visiting players and families” said Carter. The Canteen saw many committed volunteers and bakers each home game providing a range of foods from baked potatoes, to vegetable pancakes, soup, muffins, sausage rolls and Cornish pasties.
What’s remarkable is the number of new players that have registered combined with five talented coaches and more support coaches for each team. Each coach emphasised on the night the Club being united, the juniors’ coaches commenting on startling improvement from early games to end of season games with all grades able to competitively play against the League’s best and most experienced teams and clubs. Each Coach rallied the audience by laying down the challenge of Daylesford going all the way in as many age groups as possible in 2015.
The founder of the Club, Martin Szololai was present and always an inspiration with his stories of establishing the Club from scratch; this included the making, by hand, of soccer goals.
Club Junior Manager, John Mayger, spoke of the sense of community that has now built around the Club as nothing short of “extraordinary”.
Each coach described how hard it was to select this year’s medal winners as whole team efforts were praised and all players of their improvement and effort in each team.
In Under 9s Coach Danny Koleski awarded Freya Duffy the Most Consistent on the team, Otis Smith won the Most Improved, Tyler Work the Coaches Award and Zach Koleski took out the team’s Best and Fairest trophy.
In the Under 11s Coaches Richard Malter and Tony English recognised Ben English as the teams Most Improved player, Rohan Singaram claimed the trophy for Effort and Skill, and Eric Kelly the cap and trophy of team’s Best Player.
Under 13s Coach Shankar Hackenberger awarded Lola Jackson the teams Most Improved player, Sean Armstrong received the Coach’s Award and the trophy for the team’s Best and Fairest player went to Jonas Paar.
The Under 15s Coach Michael Barnes acknowledged the extraordinary challenges for the team losing Coach Marcus McIntosh mid-season, and reaching and staying on the top of the ladder for 5 games. Barney awarded Aleph Johnston Most Improved, Ruben Furness the Coaches Award, Aidan Mayger Top Goal Scorer and Tiger Callahan the Best and Fairest player.
For Seniors Coach Dragi Koleski the season of so much promise and top of ladder play ended with the need to reminisce what might have been. Koleski identified Mehdi Muhammed as Best First Year Player, Danny Kinnear as Most Improved, Abdel Benani Top Goal Scorer, and Shankar Hackenberger the team’s Best and Fairest for the year.
“Heartfelt thanks to the committee, coaches, volunteers, players, supporters and sponsors, this was a truly exceptional year for local soccer, laying a great foundation for 2015” said the Club President. The tireless efforts of John and Jayanthi Mayger, the Clubs “backbone” was acknowledged by loud applause.
“In particular we would like to thank our sponsors for their support – Bendigo Bank, Hocking Stuart, the Lake House, Daylesford Seafood Bar and the Daylesford Hotel – in helping the Club achieve such wonderful growth an participation in 2014”, said Carter.
Soccer practice for 11 to 15 year olds continues Wednesdays 4 to 6pm at Victoria Park, all welcome. “Look out for clinics and practice games over the summer months as we continue to build the Club and skills of our many soccer players”.
U9s Freya Duffy (Most Consistent), Zach Koleski (Best and Fairest), Otis Smith (Most Improved)
U11s Rohan Singaram (Effort and Skill), Eric Kelly (Best Player), Ben English (Most Improved)
U13s Holly for Sean Armstrong (Coaches Award), Jonas Paar (Best and Fairest), Lola Jackson (Most Improved)
U15s Aidan Mayger (Top Goal Scorer), Tiger Callahan (Best and Fairest), Ruben Furness (Coaches Award)
Seniors Shankar Hackenberger (Best and Fairest), Abdel Benani (Top Goal Scorer), Mehdi Muhammed (Best First Year Player)
Coching team 2014 Danny Koleski (U9s), Tony English (U11s), Michael Barnes (U15s), Shankar Hackenberger (U13s), Dragi Koleski (Seniors) Absent from this photo is Richard Malter – Coach for under 11′s