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Dear Blue and Gold army,

In 2013, the Parramatta Eels have put a major focus on pathways and participation. In short we have made a commitment to invest more time in our Junior League and engage with football at a grass roots level.

As part of our 5 year Strategic Plan we have made a commitment to raising participation numbers from 7,000 to 10,000 by 2017.

The theory behind this is simple, the bigger pool of players that we have in the Parramatta District Junior League competitions, the more locally developed players we will have pulling on the blue and gold in the future.

It is key to remember though that participating in rugby league is not just about throwing on a pair of footy boots and playing with your mates. For games to take place at your local footy oval every weekend takes work, work that is provided by volunteers.

These champions keep the rugby league world ticking and are vital to not just the game's growth but also its existence. We need the canteen ladies; we need the timekeepers; we need the coaches; we need the first aid officers; we need the committee members; we need them all.

In this day and age people live incredibly busy lives, but we should all take time to give back. The great thing about being a volunteer in rugby league is you become intrinsically connected with everyone who comes through that club. You are a part of something tangible that you can see when the under 6s run out or when one of the clubs players realizes their dream of playing in the NRL.

While mums and dads fill up the majority of roles, as Ricky Stuart says if you care, you belong. The Junior League starts on April 27, so do yourself a favour and contact your local footy club to see how you can help.

It is our mission at the Parramatta Eels to bring the people of Parramatta and Greater Western Sydney together and enrich their lives. There a few better examples of that than volunteering for your local junior footy club.

Im in, are you?

Ken Edwards
Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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