Buckle up sports fans because all roads lead to the Sunshine Coast during spring and summer!
A number of elite sporting clubs from numerous codes are set to visit our region between mid-September and February 2019 for pre-season training camps and fixtures.
Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said the bumper sporting stretch would kick off in style this Sunday when Hyundai A-League champions Melbourne Victory arrive for a week-long pre-season camp with Rolls-Royce Japanese recruit Keisuke Honda.
“What better way to kick off another big spring and summer of sport on the Sunshine Coast than a visit from the A-League premiers who feature one of the biggest names in world football,” Cr O’Pray said.
“Melbourne Victory’s signing of Keisuke Honda last month generated enormous global interest on social media and made headlines on the FIFA World Cup Twitter account which has nearly seven million followers.
“When you also consider that Honda has around 1.3 million followers on his personal social media channels, the potential worldwide exposure his visit will provide our region is exciting to say the least!”
Victory coach Kevin Muscat said the Sunshine Coast was an ideal location to kick off the club’s premiership defence.
“Our camp on the Sunshine Coast will be the first time this pre-season that our entire squad will be together,” Muscat said.
“It is going to be a great opportunity to integrate the new boys into the playing group and build towards Round 1.”
The star-studded Victory squad also features Swedish striker Ola Toivonen, who scored a goal against Germany at this year’s World Cup. Local football enthusiasts will have an opportunity for a firsthand look at the A-League champions during an open training and community session at Sunshine Coast Stadium next week (details and times will be confirmed later this week).
Cr O’Pray said dates for a number of other training camps on the Sunshine Coast would also be announced in the coming weeks.
“Council is currently working hard to finalise details for pre-season camps with several elite sporting clubs during the summer months,” Cr O’Pray said.
“Our region has become a regular home away from home for elite sporting teams across a number of codes and once again we’ve extended invites for teams to host their pre-season camps here.
“We’re certainly developing a midas touch with sports teams. Our Lightning has won back to back Super Netball titles while the winners of the last five AFL premierships all conducted pre-season camps here.
“Earlier this year, one in five athletes who trained on the Sunshine Coast won medals at the Commonwealth Games and our region is home to the Australian Cycling Academy and our only international sporting team, ‘Ride Sunshine Coast’. Three of their riders won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.
“It seems to be very very clear that if a team wants to win a major sporting premiership, the Sunshine Coast is the only location to prepare for victory. The training facilities we have in this region cater for more than 32 sports disciplines. Council has working hard to build strong relationships with a number of sporting clubs over the past few years and we’re pleased to see these teams achieve sporting success.
“The economic and social benefits these pre-season camps bring our community are enormous, with the industry contributing more than $440 million in economic activity each year.”