Glory’s participation in the Frenz International Cup allowed some of Perth’s brightest young talent the opportunity to take on some of the world’s best youth teams, an experience that coach John Gibson believes will never be forgotten.
Perth assembled the youngest squad in the competition and held their own against household names such as Suwon Blue Wings and eventual champions Estudiantes.
“Playing international football against top youth teams across the world was challenging and great fun,” Gibson said.
“It exceeded all expectations…we had a great time, it was unbelievable,” he added.
It was the club’s first overseas tournament for the youth side in almost a decade, and despite the results not going the teams way, Gibson insists the boys very competitive and learned from their involvement.
“Overall the group were outstanding at maintaining the discipline with regards to shape and structure,” the head of youth football development said.
“They were brave and showed great confidence on and off the ball,” Gibson added.
The tournament, which took place in Malaysia, provided the perfect platform for the youngsters, such as 13-year-old Riley Warland, to develop their game on the bigger stage.
“We hope they reflect on the opportunity that they’ve been afforded and take many positives from the performances,” the 36-year-old disclosed.
“Seeing the group develop major self-belief, confidence and maturity on and off the pitch was very pleasing,” Gibson added.
Gibson was gleaming with praise for the efforts of the squad’s senior players throughout the competition, with Ross Millard, Scott Robertson and Sam McKearnen all singled out by the coach.
“Our senior players were outstanding…particularly displaying leadership qualities,” he stated.
Special acknowledgement was also given for the inspiring performance of 17-year-old born Jack Leach.
“Jack in particular was a standout for us, but also in the tournament was possibly one of the best players out of all the teams,” Gibson revealed.
“This was highlighted by coaches from other teams praising Jack for his performances,” he added.
With the memorable international tour now concluded, Gibson hopes his young stars take the valuable lessons gained from the experience and develop their game further.
“The exposure to international football against players of the same age across the globe gives real perspective on where they actually are,” the coach said.
“[Also] what they need to improve on, [it] was a fantastic educational experience.”
The youngsters will be back representing their Perth Glory Youth NPL sides this Saturday, with the first team taking on Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park.