The road to Glory for Perth's Under 18’s and Under 20’s has kicked off well with both sides sitting on top of their respective tables, while the first team has performed well in the opening seven rounds of the WA NPL.
Glory’s Under 18’s Coach Callum Salmon has overseen the rapid progress of his side, and so far, has been delighted with his squad which has only lost once this season.
The 31-year-old believes hard work from his young guns is paying off and is now being rewarded, but he isn’t getting carried away.
“So far so good in terms of results and consistently performing at a good standard, but it’s early days and we're not getting too excited".
"We want to continue to improve each time we step on the training ground and on match days,” Salmon explained.
“Ultimately our main objective is for the boys to progress to the reserves and first team as well and where possible represent the Australian Youth teams.
“This season we’ve had one player move up to Bobby’s (Despotovski, Reserves coach) team and we have two players (Luca Bodnar and Jaidon Seldon) away at the moment at the U-17s Joeys Camp. But we’re working hard for more players to progress and hopefully as the season plays out that will happen on a regular basis.”
The under 18’s coaching staff were over the moon last week when one of their players was rewarded for his form, with a promotion to the First team.
“We were all buzzing last week, when Gibbo (John Gibson) promoted Michael McDougall, one of our players from last year’s under 18’s into his side,” he said.
“It goes to show if you perform well at any level you will be recognized, and by all accounts he did very well against a strong Perth SC”.
The coach has been delighted with his team's start and said he has some special players at his disposal.
“Jesse McEwan, Sam Pollard, Losene Dulleh, who is now in the 20’s, and Luke Bodnar have all played really well this season,” Salmon said.
“Each player exemplifies at this early stage in their development the character, work ethic, reliability and capacity to consistently perform which we look for in every player in the program.
“Just having the ability is not enough, and these players understand that, if they’re going to continue to improve they need to always work at a very high standard. I’m also blessed in support staff, David Butterfield is a tremendously experienced youth coach and his enthusiasm is a great influence on the players.”
Salmon who heads up Perth Glory's Community Department, coached a number of WA state sides, before heading to the UK where he worked at the Middlesborough and Sunderland AFC academies.
He then headed home to join the Community Department and to coach in the NPL.
He also has a degree in Exercise Physiology, and has a UEFA B License and is in his final assessment of the FIFA A License.
“Throughout the last ten years I’ve worked with amazing coaches, like Kenny Lowe, Bobby Despotovski, Michael Garcia, John Gibson, Branko Jelic, Danny Milosevic and the Ord brothers,” he said.
But the association with Glory senior coach Kenny Lowe is very special for Salmon, as the former Birmingham City player gave him a coaching opportunity after a career ending injury.
“Kenny has been outstanding for me. I had a horrible ACL injury in my early 20’s and he chose me to be his assistant coach, and I’ve stayed in that capacity, except for my time in the UK”.
“So for the next seven years I was by his side for the WA state teams and NTC program. So it's fair to say he has been the biggest influence on my coaching career to date.
“I’ve been at the Glory since 2010, and in my opinion Kenny has been the most positive influence on the club in the last five years. He consistently achieves huge results, treats everyone at the club with respect and I think he has the ability to win the league and take us into the ACL.”
The Glory Under 18’s take on Bayswater City at Inglewood Stadium at 11am on Saturday morning.
The Reserves and First Team play at 1pm and 3pm respectively.