New lighting paves the way forward for Lara United

December 20, 2021 BY

Lara United Football Club president Paul Grzybek (left) with Windermere Ward councillors Kylie Grzybek and Anthony Aitken at Lara Recreation Reserve celebrating the launch of the club's new lights. Photo: SUPPLIED

LARA’S sole soccer club can finally commence full-time club operations thanks to one of the region’s latest lighting upgrades.

Last Thursday marked a “massive moment” for Lara United, as the club turned on its newly installed lights which will allow teams to train on their home fields for the first time in the club’s history.

The new LED sports lighting system installed at Lara Recreation Reserve came about because of a $350,000 Community Infrastructure Grant from the City of Greater Geelong.

The new lights will now permit Lara United to train on its two home fields for the first time ever, after the club had negotiated alternative training sites for years prior to 2021, according to the club’s president Paul Grzybek.

“The club has been operating in Lara for about 23 years and we have always run the club without the use of our own training facility,” he said.

“We have always had to borrow and beg other sporting teams to use their facilities. We have essentially been nomads for 23 years.”

United first went under the umbrella of the Lara Sporting Club around 15 years ago, which meant the soccer club has had the ability to negotiate using the football ovals across the reserve for training.

However, this process has not been “conducive” for the club according to the president.

Lara United had been growing substantially prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, attracting more than 300 members to the club at the start of 2020.

This number dipped to 230, but with the new lighting upgrades now ready to be used and training to return to the two soccer fields on the reserve, Grzybek is adamant membership is set to rise exponentially.

“The expectations are for next year that we will crack 300 members once again,” he said.

“Coupled with the enormous growth in the northern suburbs, especially around Lara, there is no limit on the membership growth we are ready to see.”

The city’s infrastructure grants have given a facelift to dozens of sporting clubs across the region and councillor Anthony Aitken knows the benefits of Lara’s new lights will range beyond the physical.

“New sports lighting at Lara United will mean more people in Lara can enjoy the physical and social benefits of participation at their local soccer club, which is a great thing for the overall health and wellbeing of the community,” Cr Aitken said.

“Congratulations to the club on its successful application through our grants program – we are very happy to see the lights now in use.”

Thank you for supporting local journalism!