Football is coming home as Defence footballers dust off their boots

Published on LCDR Sarah West (author and photographer)

Location(s): ADFA, Canberra

Topic(s): Football (Soccer)

(From left to right): ADFA Midshipmen Jackson Smith, Skye Yeaman and Rylie Young prepare for the 2020 Navy and Inter-Service Football Competition in Canberra in late October. (photo: LCDR Sarah West)
(From left to right): ADFA Midshipmen Jackson Smith, Skye Yeaman and Rylie Young prepare for the 2020 Navy and Inter-Service Football Competition in Canberra in late October.

The Australian Defence Force will welcome the return of football later this month, with the launch of the Navy and Inter-Service Football Competition.

The 11-a-side tournament will be held on the weekend of 24-25 October at the ADFA Football Fields, with smaller satellite competitions to be played around the country.

The carefully-planned competition will provide Navy footballers with an opportunity to compete locally, after the 2020 Australian Defence Force National Football Championships had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.

More than 300 Navy, Army and Air Force footballers will participate in the Navy-led initiative, with games to be played at HMAS Albatross, HMAS Creswell, Fleet Base West, HMAS Cairns and HMAS Cerberus. The main event will be held in Canberra, involving up to 150 players.

Navy Football Federation Australia’s Secretary, Lieutenant Commander Stephen ‘Smokey’ Cole, said the Navy FFA committee was determined to come up with a COVID-safe solution that would deliver the important fitness, mental health and community benefits of service sport.

“We have worked hard with the COVID-19 Taskforce and Navy Sports Advisory Council to make this happen in a COVID Safe and localised format that will give our serving footballers a chance to get out onto the pitch and have some fun together after a challenging year,” Lieutenant Commander Cole said.

The tournament also heralds a new era for Navy Football Federation Australia, which has been working with Capital Football to make Canberra the ‘Home of Navy Football’.

As well as working hard to ensure all the Defence boxes were ticked in planning a COVID-safe sporting event, Navy FFA sat down with Capital Football - the ACT’s Football governing body - to ensure territory regulations also guided the planning process.

Navy FFA President Captain Lloyd Hewitt said the support provided by Capital Football was the start of an important relationship between the organisation and Navy Football.

“We have been working with Capital Football on an exciting relationship through which Canberra will become the ‘Home of Navy Football’, which will not only give us a place to feel connected with and somewhere display our trophies, but will provide our players with an outstanding, professional-standard training base,” Captain Hewitt said. 

“Our relationship with Capital Football is something we value highly, and we are thankful for their support of our upcoming ‘Navy and Inter-Service Football Competition’ and helping us work through the local regulations,” he said.

The competition will include opportunities for players in Open Men, Ladies and Over 35 categories to compete for team and individual prizes.

More information on how to register for the competition can be found at http://www.navyffa.com and the Navy FFA ForceNet page. Anyone wishing to volunteer to help out during the ACT event should email NavyFFA@dpe.protected.mil.au.