By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Freshly crowned as A-League premiers, Melbourne City FC will start embedding itself at its new home in coming months.
Admin staff for the champion club will start moving into the precinct in August.
Meanwhile, the club’s A-League and four-time W-League premiership teams start pre-season training in August and September respectively.
The academy teams started playing and training at Casey Fields in February.
Melbourne City chief executive Brad Rowse said the move to the South East and the 3-1 grand final victory on 27 June were “just the beginning of an exciting future”.
““The welcome we have received in the South East has been extraordinary, and we cannot wait to see the Etihad City Football Academy come to life.
“This is more than an elite training facility, it’s a home for football in South East Melbourne.”
Greater Dandenong Council is lobbying for funds for a $110 million Dandenong Sports and Events Centre to host future Melbourne City games.
Located next to Dandenong railway station, the stadium would hold up to 15,000 spectators for soccer, rugby, marquee community sports, concerts, festivals, conferences and possibly eSports.
Councillor Jim Memeti – who instigated the push for a national-league soccer in Dandenong – congratulated the club on its premiership success.
“I’d love to see them bring the trophy to Harmony Square.”
Recently, the first sod was turned on the club’s new elite-training pitch at Casey Fields.
Made of hybrid grass, the pitch is flanked by four existing pitches – one grass and three synthetic.
The existing fields will be used by Melbourne City’s academy teams, City in the Community programs as well as local schools and club programs.
Second stage is a new two-story admin and high-performance building.
Currently in detailed design phase, building works are expected to start this year. Completion is estimated at mid-2022.
Casey chair of administrators Noelene Duff said the start of works was “another exciting milestone” in the partnership between the council and the club.
“The December announcement of Melbourne City’s move to South East Melbourne was met with great enthusiasm in our community.
“To now see signs of life in the development of the next stage of what will be a truly world class facility will only increase that level of excitement.”
At the sod-turning, Casey chief executive Glenn Patterson said he was “already in awe of the facility we are standing in today”.
“I am really looking forward to touring the finished product next year.
“The City of Casey has invested significantly into this project, but we have done so because of the enormous good we know it – and the club – can provide for our residents.
‘We reside within one of the most multicultural communities in Australia, and so many in our community absolutely love the round ball game.”