This weekend marks the dawn of a new age for young Western Australian footballers.
Perth Glory FC will kick off its 2014/15 Foxtel National Youth League campaign against the Football Federation’s Centre of Excellence (formerly the Australian Institute of Sport) in the first round of the competition, at Ashfield Sports Complex on Saturday morning.
The U-21 team has proved to be a solid pathway for some of Glory’s young guns, which are now part of the senior squad, such as Danny De Silva, Brandon O’Neill, Riley Woodcock, Matt Davies and Jack Clisby.
Head coach John Gibson says he’s excited by the depth of players in the squad.
“We have held open trials over a 2 month period. Players have been invited from Perth Glory’s NPL squad, from other WA based NPL clubs and from inter-state, all based on the club’s scouting and talent identification network and discussions with local coaches.”
“We have signed 11 young players to NYL contracts this year and these include players such as former Joeys captain Jack Iredale, promising 19-year old Mitch Oxborrow who spent time with Newcastle Jets last season, Jordan Franken from NPL Victoria and Todd Norris from Brisbane Roar’s NYL squad. Players such as Joe Knowles and Jacob Collard who figured strongly in Glory’s NPL squad have also signed NYL contracts.
Gibson says this season’s team has improved with healthy competition for places, including a crop of new promising youngsters coming into the team.
“As Head of Youth Development, the club wanted me to restructure the program and provide a clear pathway for our most talented players. There has been a fair bit of a change that’s for sure. There’s new blood and new life in the team.”
“The NPL and the NYL teams are an important pathway to Perth Glory FC. We need our youth teams to be strong and competitive - hopefully that will flow onto the club’s senior team”.
Gibson has stressed its important the team gets off to a good start in round one.
“As the senior squad showed on the road in Wellington, it’s so vital to start with a good performance; it’s a nice boost and lifts the boys going into the remainder of the season”.
“This is the elite of the elite and it’s going to be exciting and challenging to compete with the nation’s best youngsters week-in week-out.”
Kick-off for Perth Glory’s NYL team against Football Federation’s Centre of Excellence is at 10.30am at Ashfield Sports Complex on Saturday 18 October.
The match forms part of a double header at Ashfield Sports Complex this weekend with the undefeated and table-topping Perth Glory Women’s team taking to the pitch after the NYL match is completed. They will go head to head against Sydney FC with kick-off at 3pm.
Perth Glory National Youth League Squad: Jordan FRANKEN GK (NPL Victoria), Gian ALBANO (PG NPL), Ali Gholami (NPL - Stirling Lions), Jacob COLLARD (PG NPL), Jack IREDALE (PG NPL), Bor Bor SAM (PG NPL), Mitch OXBORROW (HAL - Newcastle Jets), Joe KNOWLES (PG NPL), Nathan COSTELLO (NPL - Armadale SC), Todd NORRIS (FNYL - Brisbane Roar), Slob VULIN (PG NPL)