Thornton Junior Football Club has become just the second football club in Australia to receive Level 3 accreditation.
In a coup for Hunter Valley Football, the Red Devils join the Lochinvar Rovers in the elite club.
The club was presented with its official accreditation documentation by Hunter Valley Football representatives at the club's headquarters at Alan and Don Lawrence Oval in Thornton on Saturday morning which as usual was a sea of red and black, the team colours.
Club secretary Kristen Birkett said the club was established in 1981 and this year had 400 players, 100 team officials and 39 teams.
"Our club has grown by 20 per cent in 2019 and this can be attributed to the growth in the area but I think very importantly the club meeting the needs of local players better.
I began as club secretary at the end of 2016 and could see that the club needed organisation and a plan for the future.
"I began the process of cub accreditation by ensuring we met level 1 in 2017 and was ready to apply for level 2 in 2018.
"This involved creating a development plan in consultation with the committee and club members, ensuring child safe policies were in place, attending workshops within football, having committee members in positions such as school liaison, volunteer coordinator and sponsorship and ensuring we had adequately trained first aid officers.
"Our main barrier for reaching level 3 was coach training. This year we have a fantastic group of coaches who have gone above and beyond to attend training courses funded by our club.
"We now have 95 accredited coaches within our club which is massive compared to last year where we had 10.
"The achievement of level 3 has involved long hours of work but I feel the award accurately reflects the culture and values of our club.
"Our goal for next season is to have more females involved which we began this year with a girls come and try day with the Newcastle Jets at our oval and also to develop the facilities by working with Maitland City Council and applying for funding through grants."