Day one of the National Youth Championships for Boys delivered a mixed bag of results. Breakout performances from minnow member federations signal an exciting week of football ahead in Gumbaynggirr Country.
West Australia recorded an impressive first day with multiple wins across both 14 and 15 year tournaments putting them in a strong position going into day two.
Moe Atekhis, West Australia Black’s 14s coach attributes early success to group cohesion and experience playing in higher age competitions in Perth.
“Our boys have been together for a while, they train and play together at Perth Glory and compete against older teams. I hope this experience and time at the tournament gives them the best chance of being identified” said Atekhis.
Northern NSW Football’s Talented Player and Coach Development Manager, Ryan Doige is also happy with their team’s early showings saying “we are pleased with the performances from our players today and excited to see how we continue to compete throughout the week”.
Quiet confidence from competition heavyweights
Football NSW is hoping to capitalise on their depth of talented players and the selection process that has brought them to the championships.
Football NSW Technical Director, Warren Grieve says “we draw on a big pool of players. It’s been a long process and we’re thoroughly looking forward to the tournament and confident with our teams that they’ll perform really well this week.”
Pandemic lockdowns and disrupted travel to Coffs Harbour could impact Football Victoria’s tournament.
Football Victoria Technical Director, Boris Seroshtan said “the biggest thing for us is finding a baseline because we’ve been in lockdown for two seasons. Now we’re coming [to Coffs Harbour] after one season of training just to see where we’re at. I think it’s the biggest challenge.
Despite these challenges Seroshtan remains optimistic of taking home silverware come Friday. “We’ve always been in the grand finals. We’ve always brought in the trophies. I hope these two years of lockdowns are not going to stop us this time” Seroshtan said.
Future Subway Socceroos on display
Showcasing 600 participants, National Youth Championships is the perfect opportunity to identify players who will one day don the green and gold as Subway Socceroos.
Football Australia’s Robbie Middleby says, “the championships are an important part of our national talent identification process and Football Australia’s team in Coffs Harbour will be taking notice of the gifted players and match officials participating.
I’ve been impressed with the quality on display and I’m excited to see the careers of these young men take off as some progress to national teams.”
Spotlight on emerging referees
Behind the tournament’s whistles are 36 referees with aspirations to officiate at the highest level.
According to Mathew Cheeseman, Football Australia’s General Manager of Refereeing “the National Youth Championships is a breeding ground for referees just as much as it is for players, and it provides us with the opportunity for our referee coaches from around the country to pass on their experience and knowledge.
This tournament is a great opportunity for these emerging referees to develop their skills further as they make their way into the national pathway and allows us to identify those who have the potential to officiate in the Australia Cup and A-Leagues competitions in the future.”
Key National Youth Championships Day One