FC Bendigo coach Steve Martin expects next month’s clash with A-League club Melbourne City to help fast track soccer’s development in the city.
The announcement on Wednesday that FC Bendigo and Melbourne City would play a friendly match at Epsom Huntly Recreation on September 2 has already created huge interest.
“This game is massive for our club and the sport in Bendigo,’’ Martin said.
“To have an A-League team playing in Bendigo against our local talent shows just how far we’ve come.
“Having FC Bendigo compete in the NPL is great for Bendigo soccer and getting this game only helps promote the sport in Bendigo.
“We have great numbers in junior soccer Bendigo and hosting a big game like this is going to be a great chance for those juniors to get along and see A-League players up close.
“I’m hoping having Melbourne City come to Bendigo really has a great impact on juniors in Bendigo.”
Martin said he’ll be encouraging his players to take the game up to their highly-rated opponents.
“Our players are basically putting themselves in the shop window,’’ Martin said.
“They get the chance to play against players in the best league in Australia and they’ll get a good guide of what it takes to get to two levels above where we are playing.
“A good performance against Melbourne City could open the door down the track, you just never know what could happen.
“It’s going to be an important game for our players as far as their development is concerned.”
Melbourne City will also be attending the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League MiniRoos Gala Day on Saturday, August 30 at Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve.
Melbourne City players will interact with the younger players and promote the club ahead of the A-League season.
“This is a great opportunity for the club (Melbourne City) to interact with over 1200 players from the ages of six to eleven at the one time,’’ FC Bendigo operations manager Brock Rogers said.
“The BASL MiniRoos Gala Days are a great way for the younger juniors to finish off their season, and it is fantastic that Melbourne City can be part of that this year.”