To fully understand the significance the opening of the Graham Coe Pavilion held for the Southern Tablelands Football Association, a glance at the committee members' faces told the whole story.
The official opening of the new building was held on Friday, October 22, and was attended by a collection of guests including members of Coe's family, member for Hume Angus Taylor, Goulburn Mulwaree Council mayor, Bob Kirk, deputy mayor, Peter Walker, Football NSW representatives, and STFA officials.
"There was plenty of emotion, actually," STFA director of football, Craig Norris, said.
"[STFA] president, Rob Scott, when he spoke he got choked up about it. There was a lot of standing out the front, pinching ourselves and smiling.
"We were all saying 'Wow, it's really here. It's really happening'."
The association has planned to build a new pavilion at the Cookbundoon playing fields for roughly the last decade, and the project has been one of the committee's primary goals since 2016.
The recently-completed building includes four senior changerooms, two junior changerooms, a function area, a canteen, male and female toilets, an accessible toilet, and an officials' room with an office all situated on a 430 square metre block.
The new building, Norris said, is more than just a place for players to get changed or functions to be held. It represents a new face for the STFA.
"When you drive up Racecourse Drive, and you see it standing there, you think 'Oh, it's really something'," he said.
"It's like a fresh start, it's reinvigorated everybody. It matches our ambition, we talk a big game and want to do things like hold events."
The association has long been recognised as an able host for a number of high-profile events, including the Country Championships.
While Goulburn's location between Canberra and Sydney makes it an ideal location for representative events, Norris is pleased that visiting teams will now be able to use facilities of the highest standards.
"We've hosted major events and tournaments in the past, and we've had teams use Cookbundoon as a halfway point between metro and country," he said.
"But often Goulburn had a reputation of good fields, but there's nowhere to get out of the rain and nowhere to get changed. That hesitancy to come to Goulburn and hold or arrange tournaments here is gone."
The council played a significant role in the construction of the new pavilion, as it assisted the STFA in securing funding for the project and even contributed $500,000 last July.
Cr Kirk expressed his delight during the opening of the building last week, and said he is eager to see its impact on local soccer.
"It is fantastic to have the new pavilion open, and ready to go for the 2022 soccer season" Cr Kirk said.
"I'm sure it will be a bumper year for all sports next year as people enjoy getting back into normal activities, and the Southern Tablelands Football Association will be well-prepared to cater for everyone with this large new space."
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