MORE than 160 competitors and officials are set to take to the field in Shepparton in November, when the city hosts qualifying matches for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-19 Championship, featuring the Young Socceroos.
The tournament will be held from November 4 to 8 at the new Community Football Complex at McEwen Reserve in Shepparton and will showcase the best of the best in AFC youth football in the heart of Shepparton.
The AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers give the Young Socceroos a chance to follow in the footsteps of their senior counterparts.
They’ll be going head-to-head with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Northern Mariana Islands and Hong Kong over five days.
The winner of Group J will continue on to the AFC U-19 Championship finals in Indonesia in 2018.
The Labor Government secured the international tournament for Shepparton thanks to funding from the Regional Events Fund and Significant Sporting Events Program.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, John Eren said, “We’re giving the next generation of Socceroos their chance to shine on the world stage right here in Shepparton.
“Securing this world class football means serious business for Shepparton – attracting visitors, creating jobs and boosting the local economy.”
Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp said, “This tournament is a great opportunity to showcase the best of the best in Shepparton – inspiring our kids and encouraging more locals to play the game they love.”
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Dinny Adem said, “This is a chance to showcase our fantastic new state-of-the-art football facilities to the world as well as an opportunity to enhance our reputation of hosting major international events.
“With approximately 3,000 spectators anticipated for the qualifying matches and over $1M in economic stimulation, this event will see intrastate, interstate and international visitors spend time and money in our region, helping local business, creating more local jobs and keeping our economy strong.
“Hosting events like this supports the Greater Shepparton Football Strategy and adds significantly to the region’s reputation of being the sporting capital of regional Australia. This is an event for the community and I encourage all football lovers to get along to the watch some of the best young talent in the world in our own backyard in November,” Cr Adem said.