NATIONAL call-up for Young STARS

Perth Glory teenagers Jesse Makarounas and Brandon O’Neill have been selected in a 23-player squad for the AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers which will be played in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia from 5 to 15 July 2012.

Perth Glory teenagers Jesse Makarounas and Brandon O-Neill have been selected in a 23-player squad for the AFC U-22 Championship Qualifiers which will be played in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia from 5 to 15 July 2012.

It-s the first time O-Neill has been named in a national squad - outside of a training camp - and his selection caps off a wonderful 2012 for the 18 year old who only made his Hyundai A-League debut in March.

“I-m really humbled to be named,” a proud O-Neill said.

“Now I hope I can contribute to the squad and do my best for my country.”

“I-d really like to thank all my coaches who have helped my along the way and my family for the endless and wonderful support.”

Riley Woodcook (17 years old), who was part of Gareth Naven-s Glory Youth team last season has also been selected by Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Paul Okon.

Although the upcoming tournament is for U-22 players, Football Federation Australia took the decision to field the Qantas Young Socceroos (U-20 players) in the competition as part of their preparations for the AFC U-19 Championship which will be held in the United Arab Emirates in November, which will also serve as the qualifiers for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup which will be held in Turkey next June/July.

“Our recent training camp in Brisbane was very positive and gave us a good indication on the level of the players,” said Okon.

“We were planning on having more overseas-based players in the squad, but with the tournament start postponed by two weeks most of the players that we were considering already had to return to their respective clubs to commence pre-season training.

“This tournament will be a tough challenge for the boys with five matches to be played in ten days.

“Fitness will be a key factor in dealing with the frequency of matches and the hot and humid conditions we will encounter in Indonesia.

“We will also be playing against players who are possibly two years older than most of our players so the experience and benefits that we will gain from this tournament will be doubled,” concluded Okon.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will assemble in Sydney on Sunday 1 July before departing for Indonesia on Monday 2 July.

The Qantas Young Socceroos will play five matches in ten days against fellow Group E nations Indonesia (5 July), Macau (7 July), Singapore (10 July), Timor Leste (12 July) and Japan (15 July).

The top two teams from Group E and the best third placed team of all groups (total 15) will then progress to the AFC U-22 Championship which will be played in January 2014.

The squad:Terry ANTONIS (Sydney FC), Jake BARKER-DAISH (Adelaide United), Josh BRILLANTE (Newcastle Jets), Corey BROWN (Brisbane Roar), Reece CAIRA, Connor CHAPMAN (Newcastle Jets), Mitch COOPER (Newcastle Jets), James DONACHIE (Brisbane Roar), Jack DUNCAN (gk) (Newcastle Jets) Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Ben GARUCCIO (AIS), Nicholas FITZGERALD (Brisbane Roar), Jason GERIA (Brisbane Roar), Curtis GOOD (Melbourne Heart), Aaron LENNOX (gk) (Queen-s Park Rangers, England), Jesse MAKAROUNAS (Perth Glory), Nick MUNRO (gk) (Croydon Kings - SA State League), Brandon O-NEILL (Perth Glory), Yianni PERKATIS (Blacktown City (NSW Premier League), Daniel PETKOVSKI (Sydney FC), Anthony PROIA (Brisbane Roar), Adam TAGGART (Newcastle Jets), Riley WOODCOCK (Perth Glory).