After almost being denied a place in the National Premier League WA (NPLWA) soccer team Joondalup United are undefeated this season.
The team should have been guaranteed promotion into the NPLWA, having won State League Division One last season, but Football West stymied Joondalup by denying them promotion into the top league.
Subiaco AFC, who were also threatened with relegation out of the top league, submitted a request for Football West to investigate the promotion criteria for teams going up to the NPLWA and whether Joondalup United qualified.
Football West CEO James Curtis released a statement to the club saying United did not comply with all the promotion criteria.
“I regret to inform you that Joondalup United did not satisfy NPL eligibility criteria and therefore can not be promoted,” Curtis stated.
The club had agreed to a ground share agreement with Sorrento FC, which allowed them to share Percy Doyle Reserve in Duncraig for their home games. Football West however claimed it had not seen a final copy of the paperwork in time – and as such decided that United would not be promoted.
In the off season the club recruited its new first team believing they would most likely be playing in the State Division again.
“We recruited our players not knowing what league we were going to be in,” said Joondalup United Head Coach Nick Jennings told ECU Daily.
“So we did miss out on signing maybe one or two players, which we would have liked.”
“Our pre-season still started when we had planned.”
Luckily for United, Football West eventually found a solution that allowed the club to play in the NPLWA this season.
In conjunction with Subiaco AFC, Mandurah City and Joondalup United, Football West expanded the NPLWA, allowing United their promotion spot.
The team has put the whole dilemma behind them now and is focused on getting results in the future, with Mr Jennings believing that it only made them a better side.
“What it did was make us stronger. We won the league and deserved to go up,” said Mr Jennings.
“To be told we weren’t going up because of an off-field issue was devastating.]
“We had a few meetings with the players, and socially it brought everyone closer together.
“So when we were confirmed as going up, we were an even stronger group than we were last year.”
After starting the season with a hard-fought draw against fellow local side ECU Joondalup, United maintained an unbeaten run with a draw against fellow promoted side Mandurah and wins against Subiaco and Balcatta.
“We’ve come up and after last season are full of confidence,” said Mr Jennings.
“Really consolidation is the main thing now.
“I wouldn’t say our expectations are low, but we don’t see ourselves challenging at the moment.”
The main goal Joondalup United will look to keep their unbeaten run going.
“We know we are a very small team in a big comp now,” said Mr Jennings.
“We just need to not get carried away thinking after four games we are one of the better teams in the league.
“So we will just keep working hard taking it week by week and we will see where we end up.”
Article was originally published on ECUDaily.com.au