The club’s president is Kelly Crosthwaite. The Alphington mother of two slipped quietly into the role of president late last year, replacing the irrepressible Elaine McPartlin, who worked tirelessly in her three-year tenure.
We sat down with Kel to talk about what she loves about the Bluetongues, the upcoming season and importance of community for sporting clubs.
1. Where did you grow up and what sports did you play as a kid?
I grew up in Brisbane and played as many sports as I could. Swimming, middle-distance running and softball featured heavily. I racked up thousands of hours playing backyard cricket with my brothers in the mid-80s and as a result my bowling style has an uncanny resemblance to Abdul Qadir.
1. You've had a couple of seasons watching your son Ollie play for the Bluetongues. What makes soccer a good option for junior players and what lessons can kids learn from team sports?
At the risk of using a cliché – it is the world game - and a unique way of sharing and enjoying sport with people from most countries. That is part of what I like about it. Plus the mixture of strategy, tactics and athletics that it requires – it means that kids with different strengths can be good at it and feel part of the game.
2. As the newly elected president of the club, what’s impressed you most you about AFC?
Even though I’ve only had a few short months in the role, I’ve already formed a deep appreciation for the amount of work that the club’s committee have put in over recent years. And like any community group, there are always a small group of dedicated parents and volunteers that keep things running. Our erstwhile president, Elaine has been incredibly dedicated and the club wouldn’t be where it is today without the effort and hours she has invested.
The other thing I’m impressed by is that some of our founders are still involved in the club and a number of them are running around with our all-conquering O45s squad.
3. What are some of the areas we need to focus on in season 2020?
Quite simply, we want to be known as the club that invests and develops our people - players, coaches and our supporter base. The committee and senior coaches are determined to continue creating a sustainable and inclusive club that provides strong teams for our players to aim for and move through.
If we can get these things right in the next couple of years, then we will be ready to capitalise on the exciting influx of new players we hope to attract as Alphington grows exponentially when major projects like the Paper Mill add 4000 new residents on our doorstep.
4. Any news or developments for the upcoming 2020 season that you can share with players, parents and supporters?
This year we’re re-focusing on our development squad for the really young kids (6 to 8 years) and so we will be promoting that soon – it will be a structured and fun program with new colourful equipment and a dedicated coach experienced at running programs for that age group.
For our junior players, we will be providing a hoodie with each registration – we know how popular they have been with the kids that have one (Ollie wears his every day in winter) and we’re keen to have the neighbourhood swarming with Bluetongues hoodies!
We are also looking at ways for the senior and the junior clubs to support each other more, including through senior players helping with coaching.
5. Alphington is often described as having a 'strong community feel'. How can we incorporate that sense of community into AFC and grow participation and local support?
Alphington definitely has a strong community vibe. You only have to look at the popularity of the Farmers Markets on Sundays to see that in action. And as a club we want to add to that vibrant community spirit. We’re looking to strengthen our relationships with Alphington Bowls Club, North Alphington Cricket Club and our primary schools, Alphington, Fairfield and St Anthony’s. We would also love to get some more local businesses as sponsors.
We’re currently working on our social calendar for the year, which will include a registration day, info sessions for managers and other volunteers, some social gatherings, an end of season awards event. And of course the fireworks night at the end of the season.
If you have any questions, or suggestions for Kel, or any AFC committee members please email