Sawtell claim a place in the new Coastal Premier League
Sawtell FC is entering the inaugural season of the Coastal Premier League, joining eight other sides in the new high-level men's football competition on the mid north coast.
It comes after Woolgoolga United FC informed North Coast Football the club wasn't in a position to join the new competition, opening up a place for Sawtell FC.
The Coastal League will provide a pathway for talented players, coaches and match officials to compete and officiate at the highest level available outside the major metropolitan centres.
Kicking off in March, it will comprise a Premier League and Reserve Grade.
Sawtell will replace Woolgoolga in the CPL draw.
President of Sawtell FC, Simon Portus said the club is excited about joining the Coastal Premier League.
"The last few seasons have been a process of rebuilding for our club, and it's great to see all of this effort paying off. We've got some great coaches in place and have already had strong turnouts for our men's and women's senior pre-season," Mr Portus said.
"We recently received a four-star rating from the NNSWF club development program, and this reflects the improvements we've made across the club. We've been working on a range of things from facility, lighting and field upgrades to getting all of our coaches qualified.
"We've also had some very supportive sponsors come on board (Toormina Hotel, Marcia Street Fabricators and Genesis Fitness) so we will be getting new playing jerseys for the majority of our teams in 2020.
"Being a part of the CPL will allow us to aim high as a club. That doesn't mean we will get there immediately but what it does mean is we can plan for the future, so it's exciting times ahead for Sawtell FC," Mr Portus said.
President of Woolgoolga United FC, Mr Peter Knott said the club didn't have sufficient numbers at the senior level to field teams in the league in 2020.
"Due to a variety of circumstances, we had very limited playing options. While we're disappointed not to be there, we wish all the teams all the best for the inaugural season of CPL. Hopefully, in coming years, Woolgoolga will be in a position to again join the competition," Mr Knott said.
"While we're disappointed for Woolgoolga United FC and its players, it is not unusual for clubs at this time of the year to make such decisions," North Coast Football president Wendy Schafer said.
"Officials and players are returning from their summer breaks, and circumstances can change quickly. It is a sign of the strength of local football that we had a ready-made replacement in Sawtell FC."
Coastal Premier League fixtures - Saturday, March 28
Boambee v Sawtell
Port Saints v Port United
Northern Storm v Coffs City United
Coffs Coast Tigers v Macleay Valley Rangers
Kempsey Saints - bye