FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Vice Chancellor Southern Cross University Peter Lee, Lismore Councillor Gianpiero Battista and Page MP Kevin Hogan at the official opening of the Asia Pacific Football Institute.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Vice Chancellor Southern Cross University Peter Lee, Lismore Councillor Gianpiero Battista and Page MP Kevin Hogan at the official opening of the Asia Pacific Football Institute. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Page MP kicks figurative goal with soccer institute opening

WHILE he couldn't quite "bend it" like soccer superstar David Beckham, Page MP Kevin Hogan still showed off his skills yesterday when he officially opened Lismore's $2.5 million Asia Pacific Football Institute.

Funded through a federal government grant, the state-of-the-art football facility was constructed on land on Crawford Rd, off Military Rd at East Lismore, contributed by Southern Cross University.

Featuring a football field with an all weather artificial surface, two additional training fields, change rooms and club house facilities, the Asia Pacific Football Institute APFI this week played host to former AC Milan coach and player Andrea Icardi.

At the invitation of Lismore City councillor Gianpiero Battista, Mr Icardi spent the last three days coaching more than 60 North Coast up-and-coming David Beckhams, aged six to 17, at the AC Milan soccer camp - a first for Lismore.

After playing for AC Milan for eight years, Mr Icardi now coaches with the AC Milan soccer school's three centres in Sydney; coaching 300 players aged six to 16, in development programs.

Mr Hogan stopped short of talking up his soccer skills, but praised Southern Cross University for their involvement in the valuable facility for the Northern Rivers.

Despite not slotting a goal for the Northern Star's cameras, Mr Hogan acknowledged the region's reputation for breeding talented players of the "round ball game".

"Page has produced world class players like Craig Foster," he said.

Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee said discussions were under way with several interested groups about the ongoing operation of the facility, with support from Lismore City Council.



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