One of Western Australia’s oldest soccer clubs is petitioning for urgent assistance after an exodus of players has seen its numbers dwindle to worryingly low levels.
The Queens Park Soccer Club, based at Coker Park in Cannington, was established in 1909 and has been playing ever since.
In 2012 the club had about 800 members, but Canning Community Advisory Group member Elmi Ali said inadequate 25-year-old lighting at their field was a major reason that number had since dropped to less than 100 as players moved en mass to other clubs.
Mr Ali said during winter young players had to stop training around sunset, as the limited lit playing area was needed for senior squads.
“I’ve seen numbers go dramatically down simply because families are told to go home by 6pm,” he said.
Mr Ali said most players had migrated to nearby clubs that had better field lighting.
“You’ve got neighbouring clubs like the City of Gosnells Soccer Club, or Beckenham Angels Soccer Club, or Canning City Soccer Club, all have the appropriate infrastructure to continue sport participation outside of 6pm,” he said.
The club has launched a petition to have better lights installed at Coker Park, after they said a request to the City of Canning revealed upgrades to the the field were sixth on a list of priority projects behind ones for the parks Hossack, Shelley, Wyong and Burrendah and the Wilson Tennis Courts.
So far the club has secured about 125 signatures, and Mr Ali said he hoped to deliver it to council in early March.
As one of the few fields without adequate lighting for night-time training, Mr Ali said the club had hit rock bottom, and could soon fall below the minimum number needed to reserve the entire oval for training and matches.
Councillor Sara Saberi, whose Beeloo Ward takes in Coker Park, said she was sympathetic to the club’s cause.