Congratulations to the Ashfield Pirates, one of the fastest‑growing soccer clubs in the inner west.

The club has signed over 500 new players for the 2021 season.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with the ever-enthusiastic President of the Ashfield Pirates, Jean Kouriel.

I learnt more about his ambitious plans to grow the club and develop soccer in Ashfield.

In addition to its six men's and 18 junior teams, the Pirates have made a real effort to encourage girls onto the pitch by hiring a women's technical director and hosting a women's football weekend.

There is a field dedicated solely for junior girls to get their skills up to play this season.

The Pirates are also working on an exciting new outreach program in local schools, including a breakfast club that uses the club's canteen on wheels, to ensure that no child in Ashfield faces a day at school without breakfast.

I was inspired by the energy and excitement in the club and I am thrilled to see soccer go from strength to strength in Ashfield.

I wish the Pirates the best of luck for this season.