Makarounas off to the FIFA U-17 World Cup

Perth Glory young gun Jesse Makarounas is heading to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico after he was named in the 21-player squad by Qantas Joeys Head Coach Jan Versleijen today.

Perth Glory young gun Jesse Makarounas is heading to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico after he was named in the 21-player squad by Qantas Joeys Head Coach Jan Versleijen today.

Makarounas is one of five West Australians in the squad with Tom King and Dylan Tombides the only two players who are currently based overseas with powerhouse English clubs Liverpool FC and West Ham United respectively.

Versleijen believes he has chosen the best possible squad to give the Qantas Joeys the best possible chance of having a successful campaign.

“This has been the longest selection process of any youth national team that I have been involved in,” said Versleijen

“The process began some three years when the age groups were lowered for the AIS football program and the players began being identified two years ago.

“This is the first time that a predominately AIS-based squad will be going to a FIFA World Cup.

“But we didn-t close our eyes to players outside the program either. We scouted eligible players from around the world and brought many of them to Canberra to see if they could strengthen the quality of the squad.

“From here, we have the best 21 players who can make the best team on the field.

“The major benefit of having the majority of players based at the AIS and playing in the National Youth League is that the players are very familiar with the style of play and also their team-mates.

“From here, we will now go to Pachuca (Mexico) to train at altitude to acclimatise to the conditions we will face in the tournament.

“To assist our preparations we have also received fantastic advice from the AIS scientists as well as Dr Raymond Verheijen and Ken Stead in regard to preparing our players for playing at altitude.

“With all this preparation in effect, we will be focussing on getting a positive result in our early matches to progress in the competition,” concluded Versleijen.

The Qantas Joeys are currently in a training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, under the supervision of Assistant coach Gary van Egmond and FFA Assistant Technical Director Alistair Edwards whilst Jan Versleijen is in Europe with the Qantas Young Socceroos. During this camp, the Qantas Joeys have been put through their paces by the presenters and candidates of the Pro-Diploma Coaching course including the well respected Football Conditioning expert, Dr Raymond Verheijen and former National Youth Coach and current Hyundai A-League championship winning coach Ange Postecoglou.

The Qantas Joeys will assemble in Sydney on Tuesday to attend a farewell function and then travel to Mexico on Wednesday 8 June for a pre-tournament camp in Pachuca, where they will play friendly matches against Canada (13 June) and Uruguay (15 June). They will then move to their base camp in the city of Guadalajara, during the first phase of the tournament on the 16 June.

The Qantas Joeys have been drawn in Group F alongside Côte d'Ivoire, Brazil and Denmark for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 which will be played from 18 June to 10 July.

The Qantas Joeys will play their first match of the tournament against Côte d'Ivoire on Monday 20 June, and then face Brazil on Thursday 23 June before their final group match against Denmark on Sunday 26 June.

The Qantas Joeys will be playing Côte d'Ivoire and Brazil in Guadalajara on an artificial grass field with the final group match against Denmark on a grass field in Queretaro.

The Pachuca training camp venue will have both artificial and grass training fields to help the Qantas Joeys adjust to their tournament conditions.

The Qantas Joeys qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup having made semi-final of the AFC U-16 Youth Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan last year.

The Qantas Joeys matches and the Semi-Finals and Final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011 will be broadcast live on SBS TV.

Qantas Joeys Squad for FIFA U-17 World Cup 2011 Mexico

Nicholas ANSELL (Melbourne Victory), Corey BROWN (AIS), Connor CHAPMAN (AIS), Mitch COOPER (Gold Coast United), Milos DEGENEK (AIS), Hernan ESPINDOLA (AIS), Paul IZZO (AIS), Teeboy KAMARA (AIS), Tom KING (Liverpool FC), Jesse MAKAROUNAS (Perth Glory), Stefan MAUK (AIS), Jacob MELLING (AIS), Jake MONACO (AIS), Mitchell OXBORROW (AIS), Yianni PERKATIS (AIS), Anthony PROIA (AIS), Luke REMINGTON (AIS), Daniel SADAKA (Sutherland Sharks), Lachlan TIBBLES (AIS), Dylan TOMBIDES (AIS), Riley WOODCOCK (AIS).