Melbourne City have strengthened ties with the Victorian city of Shepparton, signing a three-year partnership to bring pre-season games to the region.
City and the local council agreed on holding a pre-season match at Shepparton Sports City every year until 2020.
The first match and City’s final pre-season game before the 2018/19 kick-off, will see Warren Joyce’s men take on Western Sydney Wanderers on October 12.
It will be the fourth time the club has competed in the regional city.
City CEO, Scott Munn, said the match gave the A-League outfit an opportunity to build its fan base outside the city limits.
“The Greater Shepparton region has an affinity with football and the support we’ve received in previous pre-season friendlies and our City in the Community programs here has been brilliant,” Munn said.
“We’ve got a strong fanbase in the area and these games are an important part of our preparation for the season. It’s great to have the support of the City Council to be able to come out and play here for the next three years.”
Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said he could not wait to “see the calibre of play” on show in October.
“We are also very excited to have signed a three-year deal with Melbourne City to come and play in Greater Shepparton in October and for another two years. Not only will they play a match but they will also undertake community activation and school clinics on their visits.”
“Hosting events like this supports the Greater Shepparton Football Strategy and adds significantly to the region's reputation of being the sporting capital of regional Australia. This is an event for the community and I encourage all football lovers to get along to the match in October.”
In previous Shepparton games City has faced Wellington Phoenix and GNEFA All-Stars in 2011 and 2012, and Wanderers in 2017.
Match details: Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers, Friday, October 12, 7.30pm, Shepparton Sports City