Wollongong continuing to grow

Wollongong, one Australia's great football nurseries, is hoping the National Premier League will further assist the area's growth.

Wollongong has long been one of Australia's great football nurseries and now the region which has produced well over 50 Socceroos is hoping that this week's National Premier League announcement will further assist the area's growth.

Indeed, Wollongong's football narrative is intertwined with the national team, and the city proudly boasts Socceroos in all three of Australia's FIFA World Cup squads from 1974 heroes Peter Wilson and Adrian Alston, to Scott Chipperfield, Mile Sterjovski and Luke Wilkshire in the modern era.

More recently, Caitlin Foord became a poster girl for the next generation of female players by being named the young player of the tournament at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup; a first for an Australian.

There also has been success on the domestic front with Wollongong Wolves securing consecutive national league titles - in some style too - just over a decade ago.

While South Coast Wolves now compete alongside Sydney's best in Football NSW's premier competition, Football South Coast chief Bill Kostandas is hopeful of some fresh impetus.

The announcement of the National Premier League, which received significant media coverage in Wollongong, could prove to be a watershed moment for the local game.

"It will help in terms of a pathway in two ways," Kostandas said.

"It may allow the Wolves to one day be promoted to the A-League. Secondly, it ties the State League competitions closer to the A-League and then you have the FFA Cup as well, so it is fantastic.

"The players will see the link to the A-League and hopefully we won't see the likes of 16-year-olds going overseas. The pathway will be a lot easier for players now to make the step up to the A-League."

Though the Wolves may have been away from the national spotlight for nigh on a decade, the talent flow still remains strong.

Pedj Bojic, Ruben Zadkovich, Mile Sterjovski and Justin Pasfield are just some home grown talents that have long been featuring in the Hyundai A-League.

More recently, defender Aaron Calver impressed after being thrown in at the deep end with Sydney FC, while just this week the highly promising Corey Gameiro linked up with Wellington Phoenix, where he is on loan from English Premier League club Fulham.

The Port Kembla product is also set to be a key figure for Australia at this year's FIFA Under-20 World Cup after scoring all six of the team's goals during the qualifying tournament.

South Coast Football, meanwhile, are also making plans to develop a home of football for the region complete with synthetic pitches, allowing future Corey Gameiros adequate resources in which to fully flourish.

A presence in the Hyundai A-League is also a part of the long-term ambitions according to Kostandas, as well as hosting a match from the national competition.

"The Macarthur region had an A-League game (Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets) last week which went really well and which are good initiatives," he said.

"We have WIN Stadium here which is a quality venue, and if we could host a match it would be great for the region. With the lifestyle we have, people here tend to stay around during the holiday period so that (period) is an option. It (A-League game) would do well.

"We have quite a good media presence and football undoubtedly has a strong footprint in the region."