By Skip Fulton
The Heritage Youth Cup kicked off this weekend at De Chene Reserve. South Melbourne FC had a very successful 2013 cup campaign and made a great start again in 2014. The Miniroos teams won four of their five matches on Day One of competition and scored the largest winning margin of any match played.
The competition is in its second year and is hosted by NPL1 team Moreland Zebras at its home ground in Coburg. The tournament caters for both boys and girls aged seven to eighteen years. Entry is by invitation only and includes teams from the NPL, NPL1 and State Leagues. Moreland Zebras have worked very hard to develop the event into the premier end of season tournament in Melbourne.
Last year there were ninety two teams, and this year it has increased to one hundred and forty seven. South Melbourne entered five teams into the 2014 tournament, all from the Miniroos structure.
South Melbourne took on the Eltham B team in Group 3 and recorded a 4-1 win and sit on top of the group table.
South Melbourne has two teams in the Under 9 competition. The South Melbourne ‘A’ team lost to Beaumaris 0-3 and sit in third position on the Group 4 table. Beaumaris was always going to be a tough opponent and are one of the most highly regarded teams in the Heritage Cup. Last year they featured in four of the nine age group Grand Finals, winning three of them. The South Melbourne ‘B’ team was in great form and took down the hosts Moreland Zebras with a win 8-0. They sit on top of Group 1.
Last year’s Under 9 title holders were back and there were high expectations.
The conditions were very windy and in the first half, the team used this to their advantage. South Melbourne dominated possession, with the South goal keeper not required, and up front the boys slotted through seven goals to take a commanding lead over Whittlesea United. At the half time break, coach Sasa Kolman wanted the boys to focus on structure and passing, with less emphasis on scoring. The boys took this advice on to the pitch and followed the coach’s instructions.
Whilst the team secured a further four goals, one in particular stood out and demonstrated the coaches direction perfectly. From the left wing the boys were faced with every opposition player in the area defending. The team took the ball back up the wing to the backline and switched play to draw out the Whittlesea boys. Just two passes later the ball was on the right flank, and a superb cross cut in front of the goal keeper for a classy tap in near the back post. The team ran out victorious with an 11-0 win and scoring the highest number of goals on the first day of competition.
Joining smfc.com.au on the sidelines was a very supportive group of parents and South fans, including club President Leo Athanasakis. The President reflected on a great result for the team saying “I think the boys were disciplined today, there wasn’t much opposition but the boys did their job, listened to the coaches instructions and we got a little bit out of it” he said. We also asked about the history and success this team have experienced. “These boys are the reigning champions from last year so they have a lot on the line. They want to retain their premiership. There’s a lot riding on this.”
After the match, Captain Michael Sdregas shared his thoughts on the performance, telling smfc.com.au “I thought it was a really good game. I thought we were pressuring and played really well and scored lots of goals. The whole team was good” he said.
In 2013 South Melbourne U11s were the runners up to Beaumaris in this age group.
The team started their 2014 campaign with a win defeating Lalor United 1-9.
Next Matches – Saturday 4th October
At 9am the Under 10s take on Spring Hills, who lost 1-2 to the Moreland Zebras
At 11am the Under 9 B team take on the Eltham Redbacks Red team, who lost 0-1 to Bundoora United
Next Matches – Sunday 5th October
At 9am the Under 8s take on Northcote City who lost 0-3 to Point Cook
At 11am the Under 9A team take on Northcote City B, who lost 0-5 to Point Cook