Newcastle Olympic have confirmed they will be entering the Women’s Premier League for the first time in the club’s history, after acquiring Wallsend FC’s first grade squad and all development teams for the 2020 season.
The move, which was announced by regional governing body Northern NSW Football on Thursday, will also see a host of Wallsend’s key management personnel also making the move to Olympic to manage the club’s new women’s program.
Olympic also becomes the second Northern NSW club to acquire a women’s program ahead of the 2020 season, after fellow NPL stalwarts Broadmeadow Magic made the move to bring South Wallsend’s women’s teams into the fold in October.
The news of the acquisition of Wallsend’s women’s football program comes just weeks after Olympic announced they were be returning to their ‘Newcastle’ branding after operating as Hamilton for the past 27 years.
The club, which was named the 2019 National Premier League Club of the Year for its efforts last season, was originally founded in 1976 as Newcastle Olympic, and started life in NNSWF’s fourth division. The club changed its name to Hamilton, under direction from the governing body, in 1992 after promotion to the NNSW State League.
Olympic play all first-grade and development games at Darling Street Oval in Hamilton South, and it is expected their incoming women’s squads will join the regular weekend fixtures at the inner-city venue from 2020 and beyond.
Wallsend club captain Sophie Phillips, who played nearly 100 games for the Red Devils between 2015-2019 and is expected to take on a similar leadership role at Olympic, said the whole team was looking forward to the new move.
“The support we’ve received has been fantastic and we have already been made to feel very welcome,” she said. “We hope to bring a lot of success to Olympic in the Women’s Premier League.”
Olympic president George Sofianos said that Newcastle were “beyond excited” to be moving into the women’s competition, and added that everyone at the club believes it will add great value for both the teams and the organisation.
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“Women’s football is a tremendous growth sport and we felt we needed to be part of this,” he said. “Having a women’s program will add tremendous value to our club and we look forward to being a part of the Women’s Premier League.”
It is expected that Olympic’s entrance into Northern NSW Football’s top-flight women’s competition will also add to the growing bid for the region to move to a National Premier League Women’s format for the 2021 season.
As of Thursday, December 12, Warners Bay, Merewether United, Adamstown Rosebuds, Thornton Redbacks, Football Mid North Coast, new arrivals Newcastle Olympic and Broadmeadow Magic, and defending champions New Lambton, are expected to contest the Women’s Premier League’s 2020 season.