Grassroots football on the Border is going to be a major focus for Murray United's new technical director Brian Vanega.
The 37-year-old will officially start work on January 1 when Adam Carty steps down after four years in the role but Vanega's planning for 2022 has already begun as he seeks to further strengthen the relationship between Murray and the Albury-Wodonga Football Association.
As a man with a foot in both camps, Vanega - who will also assist with coaching at Albury Hotspurs next season - knows the importance of a holistic approach when it comes to maximising the sport's potential locally.
"I've had good conversations with AWFA as well and they want me to do a few things there, which is great because to improve football in the region, it won't work if you're just improving one of the other," Vanega said.
"Murray and AWFA really do need to work together to make sure grassroots is running really well and the kids are getting what they need.
"If we can do that, and there's more kids playing and enjoying their football, that's just going to grow football.
"There is really good participation here and a good amount of clubs.
"Those AWFA clubs provide a great foundation to get many kids into the sport.
"For me, it's about improving the grassroots level but also improving the elite level here and a big thing is the number of sessions.
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"It may be a difficult way to tackle it but there is something that can be done between Murray and AWFA to increase the amount of miniroos sessions kids get.
"Only one session a week from (the ages of) five to 11 isn't a lot for kids to fall in love with the game.
"Kids want to get out there and do things. If football is seen in the community and there's lots of programs and availability for kids to play and they know where the clubs are, they will try it."
Carty, who facilitated the moves of several Murray players to A-League clubs during his time as technical director, insisted there wasn't one moment which stood out as a highlight of his time in the role.
"The positive experiences I have had are intrinsically linked with the journey I've been lucky enough to experience," Carty said.
"I'm grateful for the position the club finds itself in and I am looking forward to seeing the positive influence Brian will have on helping to lift the club to an even higher level."
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