The Goulburn Valley Suns have not set the world alight since their inception, but the club seems to be on the rise ahead on the new National Premier League campaign.
In February 2014, the Suns were given a licence by Football Federation Victoria to compete in the state’s top division, the National Premier League.
Although there were strings attached.
Once granted permission to compete the Suns were given less than a month to establish a club, form a team and compete against Victoria’s premier clubs — this was not an easy task.
The club faced a difficult inaugural season finishing on the bottom of the table, with just the two wins to show in 26 games.
Looking back, the board may have learned from their early mistakes.
Instead of luring players, coaches and staff from Melbourne, they should have invested in the talent pool that the region had to offer.
I know it is easy to say in hindsight, but the likes of Simon Colosimo, Kristian Sarkies, Naum Sekulovski and Peter Zois were a waste.
The aforementioned may have come with a reputation, but what did they add to a club so desperately in need of an identity? Nothing.
As a result, the club took a local approach — the right approach.
At the end of that season Nick Kalafatis was appointed head coach and the past two years have been fairly successful for the Suns, finishing fifth and eight respectively in division two.
Kalafatis had been given the opportunity along with his coaching staff to build a strong club with the emphasis on developing young local talent and they have.
After two years of nurturing, Kalafatis’ side is starting to take shape.
The children that were raw back then have now developed and for the first time there is a reason for fans to come down and watch our local side compete in one of Victoria’s premier soccer competitions.
A host of players part of the squad tonight are either born and bred in the region or will have played in the now defunct Goulburn North East for a number of years.
The Suns have an opportunity this season to build something special, there is an chance to form an identity and a culture to make Goulburn Valley proud.