The journey to the National Premier Leagues (NPL) 2018 Grand Final will commence in Queensland this Friday when the first ball of this year’s competition is kicked between Redlands United and Moreton Bay United.
Clubs from eight of Australia’s Member Federations will start their seasons over the next two months in a bid to reach September’s NPL Finals Series, which will consist of seven matches across three weekends.
The draw to determine the match ups for the NPL 2018 Finals Series, which will decide the NPL Champion of Australia, will take place at 1:00pm (AEDT) on Tuesday, 30 January 2018. The draw will be streamed LIVE on the official Hyundai A-League Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/aleague.
The quality and talent on display in the NPL is set to improve once again in 2018, with many former Hyundai A-League players joining a host of Australia’s ambitious young stars at Clubs across the country.
In NPL Northern New South Wales former Netherlands international Kew Jaliens will turn out for the Weston Workers Bears, while in NPL New South Wales former Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Ante Covic will feature for Rockdale City Suns.
Meanwhile, former Australian youth international Mitch Cooper may hope that his form with Green Gully in NPL Victoria could lead to a return to the pro ranks.
FFA Chief Executive Officer David Gallop explained that these are just a few of the recognisable names to be lining up with NPL Clubs this season, and encouraged fans to head out to a nearby club to experience an NPL contest.
“We are entering an exciting period for football in Australia with the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League seasons both approaching their climaxes, important international tournaments for the Westfield Matildas and Caltex Socceroos on the horizon, and now the commencement of the NPL 2018,” said Gallop.
“Over the past five years we have witnessed the NPL improve both on and off the field thanks to the hard work, dedication and professionalism of our Member Federations, the participating Clubs, as well as the many coaches, players, administrators, and volunteers involved with the competition.
“We have witnessed many NPL Clubs feature in the FFA Cup over the past four years further developing the links between the Hyundai A-League and the NPL and promoting the important position these clubs hold in the development pathways of Australian football.
“2018 will see a host of former Hyundai A-League players feature for NPL Clubs, which will undoubtedly assist the development of the aspiring players around them.
“This can only lead to even more excitement on pitches across the nation, so I encourage all football fans to take the time to visit an NPL match this year,” concluded Gallop.
The NPL spans across eight (8) of Australia’s States and Territories, and each of the semi-professional competitions are preparing to kick off their respective seasons.
Football Queensland is the first Member Federation to kick off its men’s and women’s NPL 2018 seasons.
Football Federation South Australia commences its season a fortnight later with Adelaide Olympic taking on West Adelaide.
There is also a blockbuster season opener in Football NSW with the Grand Final rematch between Manly United FC and APIA Leichhardt Tigers on Saturday, 10 March at Cromer Park.
As per last year, all nine Australian Hyundai A-League Clubs will continue to compete in NPL competitions, with five of the nine Clubs competing in the top division in their respective States in 2018.
The NPL now encompasses numerous divisions (NPL 2, NPL 3 etc.) and women’s competitions in selected States. Many former and current Westfield W-League players will grace fields in 2018 in the NPL Women’s competitions.