The steadfast Seagulls are soaring at Strandfontein AFC with at least 300 junior players nestled at the amateur football club.Known to be one of the largest clubs in the Western Cape, it is affiliated to the Mitchell’s Pain LFA and well recognized by Safa Cape Town.Strandfontein AFC is a community orientated base club that was started in 1978 by a few families in the community, namely the late David Jonkers, along with the late Robert Trout, the Erispe brothers – Clement and Gregory, the Rinquest brothers – Claude and Desmond, the Dingwall brothers – Ivan and Keith, the Coetzee family – Robert and Wesley along with the late Kenny Barnes. Robert Quinn came along in 1990 and assisted the juniors as acting chairman and became chairman in 1991.The club was declared as one of the top club 45 in Western Cape in the league in 1991 and played in the top Safa Cape Town Toyota Super league, won promotion to Castle League Third Division and were the inaugural winners. This won them promotion to the Vodacom league and they sold the franchise in 2005 to Vasco da Gama – which became too much of a strain on the club without any sponsorship.Young talentCurrently in Brazil at the Rio Olympics Games is proudly Strandfontein Jody February – the u.23 national goalkeeper with the Bafana Bafana team, who cut his teeth at the Seagulls at a tender age. In 2014, he joined pro-club, Ajax Cape Town.The Seagulls crop also produce several other star-studded national players, like Dylan Deane, Wayne Roberts, Robin Johannes, Wesley Coetzee (the u.17 national goalkeeper) and Kurt Barnes, just to mention a few.Likewise Strandfontein AFC has produced some great referees and officials such as Ronny de Vos, Robbie Coetzee and Clive Maart and the late Mike Alexander senior.The club is also very proud of its junior ladies. One star is Kaydee Windvogel, aged 14, who represented Strandfontein AFC and qualified to represent the u.17 girls Safa Western Cape team and Jody Matthews who represented the u.13 Safa Western Cape team respectively.Natasha Cyster, the junior secretary of the club says: “We are so proud of our 14-year-old Kaydee, who was scouted at the Farouk Abrahams Goalkeeping Academy (FAGA) and already been elevated to the national women’s football set-up.“Kaydee has been a FAGA member since the age of eight, and is in high demand for national youth team training camps as she is earmarked as a future Banyana Banyana goalkeeper.”Kaydee says: “Displaying my skills and encouraging girls that soccer is the way forward.Strandfontein AFC’s vision is to also empower the coaches with football knowledge – 10 of its coaches were sent on a course last year to acquire their D license which they’ll be awarded soon. Two coaches are currently attending the C license course. It is believed this gives the club a qualified licensed coach in each age division, some having more than one to share their skill, leaving Strandfontein AFC with the most qualified coaches in Mitchell’s Plain.Giving backRecently the Strandfontein club brighten-up the day of many kids in the community with a coaching clinic that inspired and encourage its membership and the sponsored organization to do their bit for Mandela Day.Joining in the fray with the Seagulls were the partnering sponsors of Manchester United Supporters Club Cape Town and Thorp Motor Group – and together ventured into a fantastic soccer clinic that attracted the youth of the club including kids of the community at Strandfontein Sports Complex. The Mandela Day football clinic for the youth of Strandfontein was also a huge sucess.Shiehaam Ahmed, a club official says: “Wow, the kids were so amazing. They participated in everything and just loved every minute of the afternoon. Our thanks to Thorp Motors and Tshepiso Tshabalala for all her hard work in arranging this event.”The club is equally proud of its annual u.13 “By The Sea” tournament, which has been running for 17 years and is held during March.The event has been able to attract clubs from all over to feast on and develop players by participating in the u.13 event.The aim to create a carnival atmosphere and to entice clubs and spectators alike to share in the thrills and spills and be captivated by the excitement of football talent the youth event brings.Among the 32 entries, a few football academies participated like Ubuntu Academy, Ajax Cape Town, Old Mutual Academy and Ulana Academy who hails from Khayelitsha and Stellenbosch University (Maties) who took the title at this year’s event along with the Seagulls, who won the Plate section and entered this team in Safa Cape Town’s “Build it Reach for A Dream” Tournament and grabbed the title with no hesitance whatsoever.Club chairman, Kelvin Davids, says their budding stars in the Seagulls u.8 and u.10 teams are doing pretty well in competitions.“We fired away at the Wynberg St John tournament in 2014 – carrying the title until last year. They were runners-up and also took the Mitchell’s Plain LFA title last year as winners at their tournament.“It is unbelieveable that we posess a surplus of young talent in our camp and with these amazing stars having so much skill and football intellect, our Seagulls will no doubt be competing with confidence in the forthcoming Wynberg St John’s tournament early October this year,” says Davids.Top of the logWith the current 2016 amateur season nearing its end, the Seagulls u.16 are on top of the log, likewise the u.12s are top of log and the u.10 side is placed third on log.Their u.14 team in the Premier Division is also top of the log, the u.12 premier team top and second on the log in the u.10 age group has primarily through hard work displayed in their achievements.Player and u.14 goalie Tazwell Brown says: “Soccer keeps me focused.”Raising fundsMeanwhile the Strandfontein club is looking forward in anticipation to hosting their Black Tie Masquerade Ball fundraiser and charity event on Friday 26 August at the Westridge Civic Centre in Mitchell’s Plain.An evening of mystery and intrigue, titled “Who will you be?”, is keeping the club members and supporter enthusiastic, with bated breath.Part of the proceeds will go to Heart of Hope Congenital Defect.Tickets cost R120 per person from members of the club or can be purchased at R150 at the door.Dress code is “elegant” or Black Tie with a mask. The best dressed couple will win a prize.