The countdown is in full swing for Wagga Wagga’s historic W-League clash, with the heavyweight trial showdown between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets just 8 days away.
Sydney FC, the reigning W-League champions, is set to arrive in the city on Friday, ready for an action-packed 48 hours before kick-off at McDonald’s Park on Sunday.
“As part of the club’s visit, more than 650 kids, across 5 schools, will have the chance to participate in gala day clinics on Friday morning,” Strategic Asset Planner Parks and Recreation Ben Creighton said.
“In the afternoon, players will visit another nine schools, engaging with around 1000 kids.
“At 5pm members of the public will have their first chance to see the girls in action, when Sydney FC meets Football Wagga Wagga’s National Premier League team at McDonald’s Park.
On Saturday morning Sydney FC stars will return to McDonald’s Park to assist in facilitating a Football Gala Day, prior to a signing session.
Lake Albert Sharks youngster India Illsley is eagerly awaiting her chance to hone her skills under the guidance of the superstar SFC line-up on Saturday morning.
India has been playing football for the Sharks for the past three years, following in her brother James’ footsteps.
“Three years ago, India said out of the blue, ‘I want to play football’,” India’s mum Melissa said.
“I registered her with Lake Albert. The club rang me back and said she is the only female player who has registered, and would she mind being in a team with boys?’
“Of course, she just wanted to play.”
Football forms a big part of the Illsley family’s life, with dad Rob, a proud Englishman and Bristol FC supporter.
“Rob and James have been to a couple of European Premier League games out in the UK, because we go back fairly regularly,” Mrs Illsley said.
The whole family is looking forward to the opportunity to part of the crowd the ground-breaking W-League clash.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity and I really hope it gets well supported,” Mr Illsley said.
“I’m pretty confident it will, because this is a very sporty city.
“It’s going to be great to see the girls in action here. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Adding to the family’s excitement, eight-year-old India will enjoy a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience at the clash, winning the opportunity to present the official game ball.
She’ll join coin toss competition winner Suzie Neilsen in the centre of the ground prior to kick-off at 3pm on Sunday.