A new chapter of football’s evolution was launched last month with the establishment of the second-tier National Premier League competition.
The red letter day for football was largely ignored by the mass media but was arguably the most vital moment for the code since Australia joined the Asian Football Confederation.
For the first time in the code’s history there is now a direct player pathway between the grass-roots, state-based competitions and the A-League.
At Parramatta’s football fan forum last month, SBS Television pundit Craig Foster, described the announcement as a very important moment which integrates the footballing pyramid.
‘‘This [state-based leagues] is the nursery and A-League clubs haven’t yet taken ownership of that,’’ Foster said.
‘‘This is where the players are developed and it’s a section of the community that contributes [to football] in so many ways.’’
One of the NSW Premier League clubs looking to feature in the new national competition is former National Soccer League club Blacktown City FC.
Blacktown previously played top-flight football in the 1990s alongside Marconi, Sydney United and Parramatta Eagles and will welcome the opportunity to return the national stage.
‘‘It will be fantastic to play Australia’s leading state teams again and it will help our youth development program,’’Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden said.
‘‘Our older club members have fond memories of our away trips in the National League.
‘‘It will be a big opportunity for our boys to show A-League clubs what they can do.’’
The National Premier League is due to start in 2015 with the top three clubs from each state progressing to the finals round-robin tournament.