New home for Calder

Calder United (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Tara Murray

Calder United will call Keilor Lodge home for 11 games this season as the club forms a partnership with Sydenham Park.

The National Premier League Women’s team was set to be without a home venue until Sydenham Park stepped up to help out.

Reds vice-president David Lisolajski expressed the club’s enthusiasm, stating they were extremely stoked and thrilled to host Calder United senior women’s teams at Keilor Lodge Reserve in 2024.

“When we learned that they were without a home venue, it was an obvious choice for us to reach out and assist,” he said.

“Women’s football holds significant importance for us at Sydenham, and we believe this partnership will benefit our young girls and both senior women’s teams. They will witness professionalism first hand during match days.”

Calder United president Amanda Stella expressed anticipation in developing a successful partnership to bring the top league women’s NPLW to Sydenham Park in 2024.

Stella said it had been a tough period as they figured out where they were playing this season. The club is still based out of Keilor Park and trains at the ground.

The club has previously had exemptions to play games on ground number two despite it not being up to NPLW standard, but Football Victoria made the call to withdraw the exemption this season.

“The ground allocations for this year had already been made,” Stella said. “I don’t blame Football Victoria, we understand they want to improve the women’s game.

“Keilor Park [which is on ground one] said no to playing some games on their ground and we understand that.

“Sydenham Park has come to the rescue. The support from Sydenham Park president Nick Trajcevski and vice-president David, along with the broader Sydenham Park community, is greatly appreciated, and we eagerly anticipate playing our senior and 20s home games for the 2024 season at Sydenham Park.

“A special acknowledgement to Football Victoria’s Josephine La Pila for her work with both clubs to achieve an outcome that promotes collaboration among football clubs for the betterment of our beloved sport.”

Stella said while relieved to have somewhere to play, she said long term they need a solution so they can play home games at their ground.

She said they won’t be able to make any money on game days, which means the money which usually covers referee fees aren’t coming, which would cost the club $10,000 for the season.

Calder’s next match is on April 20 against the Bentleigh Greens.