At the UC Stars Football Club, it’s all about culture.
Heading into the 2023 season, the club will look to build on the performances of last year whilst maintaining the culture among the players, staff and supporters.
With the unique complexity of a University affiliated club, players come and go year on year adding to the dynamic nature of new talent and friendly people.
With the prospective for international students to play football in Canberra, UC Stars welcomes many players from diverse backgrounds to play either competitively or socially.
With an increased focus on inclusivity across the men’s and women’s teams, the club offers many ways to get involved regardless of the player’s skill level.
Due to the interruptions of COVID-19 for the past few seasons, UC Stars have the opportunity to introduce a few new teams along with healthy numbers across the squads this season.
With the State League Men’s and Women’s 1st grade sides making finals last year, both going out in the semi-finals, the club will be hoping to go one step further and make the final of their respective competitions and hopefully win their competitions.
A new coach for the Division 1 men’s side this season, Sam McLoughlin-Wilden, will be looking to build on the performances of last year as the club looks to push towards the CPL level in Canberra.
UC Stars FC Club President, Silvio Miceli, spoke about what the club’s ambitions and hopes are for the season.
“Sam has been with the club a long time, he’s more than capable and aware of the difficulties of coaching a university team,” Miceli said, “so we are hoping we have added the right key elements to the squad and we strengthened in the off season and we can go one step better.”
With the students being the lifeblood of the club, the overall positive experience of the club and the relationships built form a strong sense of community to inevitably keep playing post-graduation.
Building the culture around the club is a key focus, sparking initiatives to create an inclusive and friendly environment for all.
One of those is the annual Bellingham Cup where it unites the community in honouring a former coach and player of the club, Aaiden Bellingham. The friendly tournament brings together the wider community in remembering Aaiden but also a great day to bond and have fun while creating many friendships.
Miceli described how it’s a really important way to come together as a club, setting up a positive atmosphere for all.
“The Bellingham Cup is a great opportunity to remember Aaiden who obviously was an important part of the club, but also a great day for us to come together and do something a bit more social and not so competitive,” he said.
Combined with their season launch and trivia nights throughout the year, these events build connection on and off the field for coaches, staff, players and volunteers.
“It’s an opportunity for all of those teams to come together and to get to know each other and develop a bond and comradery in those events,” Miceli added.
With a recent emphasis on the management and coaching of the club in recent years, they have provided members of the club opportunities to get a C-license for those who have been coaching with the club and also developing players into player coaches for some of their sides.
This in turn will improve the quality of coaching at the club and hopefully bring more players to the club to sustain its longevity.
After going down to ANU FC in the Australia Cup Qualifying Competition, the two teams will face off again in their first fixture of the State League Men’s season starting on Saturday 1st April.
Meanwhile, the State League Women’s sides will play their first game on the Sunday 2nd April, with the first grade team playing Weston Molonglo at University of Canberra.