Southwest Queensland Thunder Football Club’s Skills Acquisition Program Carnival in Toowoomba drew children from as far as Mackay on Sunday, 18 June.

More than 360 boys and girls participated, flocking from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Goondiwindi, Hervey Bay, and throughout the Toowoomba region.

SAP is a key aspect of Football Federation Australia’s national curriculum aimed at perfecting and accelerating player’s skill development at the critical ages of nine, 10, and 11.

“Everyone came from everywhere to Toowoomba to play their matches,” said Thunder Technical Director Salvatore Sottile, who was responsible for putting the carnival together.

“We had been trying for some time to attract the SAP Carnival to Toowoomba and now we are very glad that we were able to. It was a great success and a lot of credit for this is due to the parents and volunteers that we had.”

“Many of them started their day at 5.30 to ensure all the fields were ready for play and they worked tirelessly throughout the carnival,” said Sottile.

Eight separate fields were in play at the expansive Captain Cook Recreation Area a few kilometres west of Toowoomba’s city centre.

According to Sottile, the carnival’s emphasis is on taking part with a competitive spirit, rather than focusing on who wins or loses.

“We want the boys and girls to enjoy the experience of playing the game without the pressure of worrying about winning,” he says.

With the popularity of football on an upward spiral with both parents and children, Sottile says the SAP program will be further expanded next year, catering to players under the age of nine.

The entries for teams wishing to enter for the 2018 series close with Football Queensland in November.

Read about Toowoomba gridiron player Alec Zajacek here.