The searing heat couldn’t dampen the action as the second day of National Youth Championships 2023 Boys’ action continued at Valentine Sports Park.
As both the Under 15 and Under 16 tournaments begin to take shape, front runners are starting to emerge while surprise packets are making a name for themselves. The decision was made to split the day into a morning and evening session as temperatures reached 36 degrees in Sydney’s west.
South Australia tops the Under 15 Group A, NSW Metro White tops Under 15 Group B, while in the Under 16 tournament, Victoria Blue leads Group A and NSW Metro White tops Group B.
The action will continue on Wednesday during what will be a crucial day for all teams, as they vie for group position with the Semi-Finals kicking off on Thursday.
National Team Coaching Staff Watching Closely
Football Australia National Team coaching staff have been watching closely over the first two days with a coordinated team making sure every player goes through the talent identification process.
Football Australia Technical Director – Men’s and Head Coach of the Subway Young Socceroos, Trevor Morgan, said Football Australia National Youth Team coaching staff, Member Federation Technical Directors plus invited Association and Club Technical Directors have been working as a scouting unit to underpin the talent identification process at this year’s Championships.
With such a diverse range of players from across Australia, all boasting their own individual playing style and flair, Morgan, along with Subway Joeys’ Head Coach Brad Maloney, take all this into account while watching the matches.
“You want to see kids who are playing with confidence and people who are expressing themselves. A team that plays in a positive way because the Australian way is to go forward and attack.”
“We’re looking for positive actions out of people, whether that’s with the ball or without the ball. We want to make sure everybody gets a chance to experience the tournament and deal with the pressures of this sort of challenge.”
With three more days to go until the eventual winners are crowned, Morgan is excited to see if players and teams can maintain their form over the course of the tournament.
“There’s been some games that have been tight and some stalemates,” Morgan said.
“There’s certainly been lots of glimpses of young, talented footballers that we want to keep watching throughout the week and see how many really keep continuing to perform in this environment.”
Tenacious Tassie Building Momentum
Tasmania’s Under 16 team were the surprise packets of the opening day after trumping Queensland 3-1, and their coach James Sherman is hoping this is just the beginning.
After jumping over the Bass Strait and heading to Valentine Sports Park, the Tasmanian team are galvanised by their travels and soaking up every moment.
“It’s been a positive experience for the guys, and we had some really good moments in the game (against Queensland),” Sherman said.
“I think the most important thing is that we look to give a good account ourselves and play to our strengths and showcase the players and their talents and we certainly have done that so far.
“Now we have the result, we just need keep that up for 50 minutes each game and we can definitely show the characteristics of a good team.”
Competing against some of the bigger Member Federations, Shermain is also happy to see Football Tasmania continue to raise their standard.
“The National Youth Championships gives the kids something to look forward to. Being selected in a state group and travelling away is a pretty special thing,” Sherman continued.
“Then applying your abilities against like-minded individuals is what it’s all about. I think we’re starting to close the gap, I’m really happy.”
Wellbeing in Focus
Getting the best out of players doesn’t just require specific training plans and high protein diets, it also requires support away from the pitch and looking after your mental wellbeing.
To ensure all clubs receive the best possible support throughout the National Youth Championships, Football Australia’s National Male Wellbeing Manager, Chris Lynch, has been in attendance offering his services to all Member Federations.
“The first the phase before the Joeys and Olyroos is the National Youth Championships. So, the focus for me here is supporting the Member Federations and finding out what they’re doing from a wellbeing perspective,” Lynch said.
“I share some of the good practises and then look at where we can actually add value and support what wellbeing looks like at each phase of the pathway.
“I also get a chance to see the current generation of Joeys who are in attendance. It gives me a chance to reconnect with them and their parents who are here.
“It’s a chance to check in on how they went with their exams and build those relationships because they’re the next generation of professional footballers, and if we’re embedding the support at that age, then they will continue to engage in it as they progress in football.”
Due to unforeseen technical issues, the competition website is not displaying the correct ladder and results information. A resolution for this is currently being worked on. Live and up to date ladder information is available vias the Gameday App by completing the steps outlined HERE.
Photos by Damian Briggs Speed Media/Football Australia