By Skip Fulton
This weekend the action was at Princes Park and Albert Park as the South Melbourne FC youth teams returned home to play fixtures against FC Bulleen Lions and Richmond SC.
South Melbourne Miniroos
South Melbourne Under 13s coach Samuel Young is also responsible for one our Miniroos teams at Under 9 level. South Melbourne FC has a variety of teams at the sub-youth level, some of which only practice whilst others play each week against other clubs. Samuel invited the smfc.com.au media team down to Princes Park to see them play.
Early this Sunday I joined the throng of parents surrounding a small pitch. Having visited the South canteen obtaining the obligatory souvlaki (much better quality than Lakeside hence deserving a special mention) and being served by Club President Leo Athanasakis, I settled in to watch the action. I was expecting to see a rugby scrum of boys moving around the ground with every player within about 3m of the ball. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.
Each week I cover our Under 20s team so I am used to seeing the likes of Ryan Barbare, Stefan Zinni and Dion Paola moving around the pitch with ease dribbling through the midfield and getting around the opposition left, right and centre. In front of me, the entire South Under 9s team were putting those same skills on display. There was no rugby scrum of players, at least on the South side. The boys were playing with structure, getting into space, creating angles and the passes being made were based on good decision-making and executed very well. In one instance the boys went the length of the pitch with three passes and a goal in just five seconds.
It was great to see such an encouraging atmosphere with the crowd applauding the efforts of both teams, and there was a lot of applause. Usually our South coaches are very focused during the match and you get that look if you go near them. However coach Samuel Young was laughing and encouraging the boys from the sideline so I dared interrupting him with for me was an obvious question, “Just who are these kids”? Samuel simply smiled and said “These boys are our future, impressive aren’t they”. He would go on to detail how they train several times a week just like the seniors. The focus of the coaching team is on skill development for each boy and introducing structure and team play as they advance through the age groups.
The half time whistle went and at this level there is no scoring, thus no winners and losers. Of course trying telling that to the parents, but realistically try telling the boys that. When one of the players yells out “that’s seven nil isn’t it mum…” you know the boys are pumped and they are playing well. Young encourages the boys to show some humility and but the brakes on, no more goals, focus on your passing. I smile to myself as I walk back to the Under 12s match thinking just how much Young is dreaming if he thinks the boys are going to follow that instruction.
After the match is over, as the boys and families start to disperse with another group replaces them for the next match, I overhear an encounter that has me smiling once again. “We beat Milos today Dad” to which the response was “What are you talking about?”. “We scored twenty one goals, we beat Milos! He’s only got eighteen.”
These boys are the future of South Melbourne football and they are clearly aiming high. Watch out Milos Lujic !!
Under 12s defeated FC Bulleen 2:1
In the first match of the day at Princes Park, the Under 12s fought out a tough battle with FC Bulleen but won 2:1. We asked double goal scorer Adam Brigo his thoughts on the game. “It was pretty good. We lost by a few goals last time, we did well to win the second time we played them” he said. Asked about the positives from the match, Brigo said “We made some good runs and took chances. It was a good game and scored two goals.”
Match Photos: http://on.fb.me/1vC7VIH
Under 13s drew with FC Bulleen 2:2
The Under 13s came under intense pressure from an aggressive FC Bulleen line-up in the second half as the visitors searched for the winning goal. The defenders stepped up including goal keeper William Lord who saved a crucial penalty kick to ensure the home side victory. Similar to the previous game, both goals were scored by the same player and smfc.com.au caught up with William Wilson after the match. “We did well. We just made a little bit of a mistake that may have cost us but kept our head up for the whole game. We should have finished our chances. I think we played well today” he said. Wilson also was able to reflect on his colleagues who stood out and contributed during the match saying “I have to say either Brad or Trifon. Trifon was putting his body on the line 24/7 and Brad was keeping his head up, destroying the defenders and strikers and doing well.’
Match Photos: http://on.fb.me/1BSLJrZ
Under 15s defeated Richmond SC 1:0
The Under 15 team recorded a 1:0 win over Richmond SC who are their closest rivals. The team with twenty two points now sit a game clear of Richmond on top of the NPL1 ladder and also have a game in hand.
U12s won 2:1 against FC Bulleen, goal scorer: Adam Brigo x2
U13s draw 2:2 with FC Bulleen, goal scorer: William Wilson x2
U14s lost 1:3 to FC Bulleen, goal scorer: Gera Bilytiansky
U15s won 1:0 against Richmond, goal scorer r: James Polemicos
U16s lost 1:2 to FC Bulleen, goal scorer: Tom Baker
U18s lost 0:2 to Richmond
Whilst the Seniors and Under 20s have a week off with the catch-up round being played out, the Youth teams are on the road again next week. Matches this week are against Northcote City, Springvale White Eagles and Kingston City.