We caught up with Member Frank Parisi to talk about his passion for grassroots football and the Wanderers.
Wanderers fan and InsideOut Football’s Frank Parisi is a firm believer in the role grassroots football plays in developing Western Sydney’s young stars of the future.
For 15 years, Frank has been heavily involved in the Western Sydney football community, starting out at the Canterbury District Football Association (CDSFA) where he would eventually become president.
It’s this kind of rise that typifies his philosophy – a passionate believer in nurturing and developing talent from the ground up.
Frank himself has contributed heavily to grassroots development around the Western Sydney region.
“During my time with CDSFA, I realised that there was a distinct lack of genuine quality football grounds to play on,” he said.
“So when the opportunity came out at Sydney Olympic Park to develop a site, I thought it’d be a great idea to put an all-weather synthetic pitch out there.”
The name InsideOut Football derives from being able to play futsal rules on an outdoor surface.
In keeping with the motto, “where the football never stops”, InsideOut Football’s state of the art artificial pitch is available for hire all year round – in fact registrations are currently open for the centre’s Spring competition which runs for 16 weeks for men, women, mixed and juniors from 7 September.
It’s the perfect environment for kids to start their footballing journey and a substantial upgrade on the “pretty average” fields that characterize district league football.
Frank hopes that institutions like InsideOut Football will play an important part in developing future generations of Wanderers.
“Development is key,” said Frank.
“You’re not always going to have elite footballers come in and be able to kick a ball.
“My philosophy is about developing young juniors in an open environment where there is little structure or pressure.”
And when it comes to the development of junior players, Frank says there is no better example of the pathway from grassroots to elite football than the Wanderers’ very own Shannon Cole.
Cole, now an AFC Champions League winner, came through the Canterbury district when Frank was president and he remembers a young Cole bursting onto the scene in the Hyundai A-League.
Whilst Cole’s journey is an important reminder of the pathway to top-tier football, Frank also says that the Wanderers’ work ethic makes him a fantastic ambassador for the entire Western Sydney region.
“He’s probably not the most naturally talented footballer but he works his ass off and has been doing it consistently for years. He gives his time and does a lot of great work off the field as well.”
The lifetime Western Sydney resident, who now resides in Croydon Park, is optimistic about the season ahead, hailing the arrival of international players like Federico Piovacarri.
“Shinji was a revelation, what he brought to the team was terrific and I think Federico will make a similar impact. The other imports we’ve got this year are absolute class, and Popa has gone for pure quality.”
Reflecting on the club’s AFC Champions League win as his favourite Wanderers moment, Frank also said the day the club were given a Hyundai A-League licence was a monumental occasion for football in Western Sydney.
“To finally have a club to represent the community was fantastic and should give kids something to strive for,” he said.
“Football in Western Sydney had a future on that day.”
And no doubt Frank and the rest of the InsideOut Football team will continue to strengthen the future of football in Western Sydney, and the lives of many young footballers.
InsideOut Football is a corporate partner of the Western Sydney Wanderers and offers a FIFA approved synthetic grass field, available for casual hire and coaching clinics. InsideOut Football also offer friendly competitions for men, women and kids of all ages, as well as UEFA A licensed-coaching academies. To find out more about InsideOut Football click here.