Alex Pearson selected in Qantas Young Socceroos squad

Perth Glory Youth goalkeeper Alex Pearson will fly to Sydney tomorrow, after the young star was named in Qantas Young Socceroos 23-player squad for the AFC U-19 Championships, which will be played in China next month.

Perth Glory Youth goalkeeper Alex Pearson will fly to Sydney tomorrow, after the young star was named in Qantas Young Socceroos 23-player squad for the AFC U-19 Championships, which will be played in China next month.

Pearson could be away for up to a month if the team make it to the finals but Pearson said it-s a huge thrill to again be given the chance to represent Australia.

“I-m really excited.

“It-s always great representing your country, this is an important tournament and it-s great to be there and just to get selected for the squad is a huge honour,” Pearson said.

The Qantas Young Socceroos squad includes 18 Australian-based players and five from overseas clubs including Kerem Bulut (FK Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic), Jason Davidson (Pacos de Ferreira, Portugal), Matthew Fletcher (Sunderland, England), Dylan McGowan (Hearts FC, Scotland) and Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht, Netherlands).

Five members of the Qantas Young Socceroos squad; Kofi Danning, Sam Gallagher, Rhyan Grant, Ben Kantarovski and Tommy Oar, competed at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt last year and their experience will be of great value for the current campaign.

With the top four (4) teams from the AFC U-19 Championship qualifying for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will be held in Colombia next year, Head Coach Jan Versleijen is confident that the group of players that he has selected will be able to achieve their goals.

“It is always an honour and a privilege to be selected in the national team for tournaments such as this one and the players and I are very excited about this upcoming period of their careers,” said Versleijen

“Playing in tournament football gives our players much needed international experience against high quality opposition and should we achieve our goal of qualifying for the U-20 World Cup we will face even stronger opponents in Colombia.

“Our preparations have been very good for this tournament with more players in the starting line-ups for their clubs which is very good for the National team and football in Australia.

“We have great competition for final selection in each position on the field and I am confident that with the players we have we will do well in China,” concluded Versleijen

The AFC U-19 Championship 2010 Finals will be held in the host city of Zibo, China, from 3-17 October, 2010, at the Zibo Sports Complex Stadium and Linzi Stadium.

The Qantas Young Socceroos have been drawn in Group D of the competition along with Yemen, Korea Republic and IR Iran.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will play their opening match of the tournament against Yemen on Monday 4 October, followed by IR Iran on Wednesday 6 October with their final group match against the Korea Republic on Friday 8 October. The quarter finals will be played on Monday 11 October, semi-finals on Thursday 14 October, with the Final to be played on Sunday 17 October.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will assemble in Sydney tomorrow for a four-day training camp, which will include a training match against the Central Coast Mariners, before heading to Hong Kong on Friday to complete their pre-tournament preparations and will arrive in Zibo on Friday 1 October.

The squad is: Matthew Acton (gk) ( Brisbane Roar), Mustafa Amini (Central Coast Mariners), Terry Antonis (Sydney FC), Eli Babalj (Melbourne Heart), Mark Birighitti (gk) (Adelaide United), Daniel Bowles (Brisbane Roar), Kerem Bulut (FK Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic), Kofi Danning (Sydney FC), Jason Davidson (Pacos de Ferreira, Portugal), Ryan Edwards (Australian Institute of Sport), Matthew Fletcher (Sunderland, England, Sam Gallagher (Central Coast Mariners), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Brendan Hamill (Melbourne Heart), Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle Jets), Mathew Leckie (Adelaide United), Steven Lustica (Gold Coast United), Dylan McGowan (Hearts FC, Scotland), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht, Netherlands), Alex Pearson (gk) (Perth Glory), Dimitrios Petratos (Sydney FC), Nikola Stanojevic (Central Coast Mariners), Marc Warren (Central Coast Mariners).