Highlands under-16/17s celebrate Branch Championship success

The Highlands under-16/17s girls team. Photo: supplied
The Highlands under-16/17s girls team. Photo: supplied

The Highlands under-16/17s representative girls’ soccer team will represent Southern after its recent Branch Championships success.

Held over two weekends in May and April, the team managed to win four of its six group matches against teams from the Southern Tablelands, Shoalhaven and Far South Coast.

Coaches Jason Perinich and Matt Wilson said the result was even more impressive considering the team was only formed weeks earlier.

“Due to the tight scheduling we only had a couple of weeks to bring the girls together and prepare them for the competition,” Perinich said.

“For some of them this was their first major competition outside of their regular club games.”

The team comprised of 14 girls from teams and clubs across the Southern Highlands.

“We even have some girls playing above their age to help field a full team,” Perinich said.

Over the course of the dual weekend Branch Championships competition, the Highlands team managed to secure four outright victories, one draw and only one loss.

Wilson said the girls played impressive football over both weekends.

“They all played with great pride, passion and skill,” he said.

“They really did a great job representing the Shire and women’s football in general.”

As a result of placing runner-ups at the Branch Championships, the girls have qualifiied for the NSW Country Cup to be held later in the month in Mudgee.

Organised by Football NSW, the Cup will include opponents from other country areas including the Riverina, Western and Southern Regions.

“The Country Championships will provide an even tougher test for the team,” Perinich said.

“However we believe if they bring the same enthusiasm they showed over the last month they stand a real chance of causing some more upsets.”

Both coaches agreed that all the players had a bright future in the game.

“We have no doubt that these girls could take their games to another level and help raise the profile of women’s football in the process,” Wilson.

The coaches thanked the Highlands Soccer Association (HSA), parents, guardians and the team sponsors for their continued support.

The Highlands under-16/17s representative girls soccer team comprised Olivia Blanch, Jemma Coulter, Shenoah Furnisss, Marisa Giles, Annabelle Hall, Keira Hol, Ava Lambie, Hannah McEvoy-Maggs, Esther Rough, Tannah Warner, Chloe Wilson, Nikola Wilson, Erin and Jessica Sommers.

The under-16 boys were also crowned branch champions in their age division.