Alstonville's Hayley Cairns playing in the open division at the Oceania Cup soccer carnival last year.
Alstonville's Hayley Cairns playing in the open division at the Oceania Cup soccer carnival last year. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus

It's a girls' weekend at soccer carnival

ABOUT 42 teams will turn out for the seventh annual Oceania Cup soccer carnival at Crawford Park and Geoff Watt Oval, Alstonville, this weekend.

The tournament is for female teams from Under-12s up to open women who compete in an 11-a-side format.

Defending open champions Sydney Leichhardt are back along with Gold Coast United while a team from Tasmania is also in the mix.

"Gold Coast United play in the National Premier League, they have a few girls originally from this area and will be really competitive,” event organiser Matt Wiltshire said.

"The girls from Tasmania are coming back; they seem to like our carnival and make a point of coming here.

"We've gained a lot of momentum in recent years, people know about us and we're firmly established in the calendar.

"We look forward to a fun weekend of team sport and participation to celebrate the end of the regular season.”

Each team plays a round-robin with the top-ranked teams in each division playing a final Sunday night.

Alstonville soccer club runs the event and has built it up around volunteers.

"One of our life members, John Noble, recognised there was an opportunity to hold a carnival like this with the focus on the girls,” Wiltshire said.

"They really seem to respond to it and I think they enjoy just having the spotlight on them solely for one weekend.

"Our volunteers are a pretty special group, it's a big job and very much still run by the Alstonville club.

"It's relatively cheap to play in and they all leave with a free tournament shirt.”

Games start from 9am with the open women's final at 8pm Sunday night.

The tournament runs in co-operation with Football Far North Coast and Northern NSW Football.