South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Youth :: The wheels are in motion for a successful 2015

Youth :: The wheels are in motion for a successful 2015

By Skip Fulton

In Australia, the last Saturday in September is universally marked on calendars as AFL Grand Final day. However, for a group of committed, young and aspiring players of the World Game, Albert Park was where their focus was. They came in numbers, with passion and desire, to participate in the first week of trials for the 2015 South Melbourne FC NPL Youth teams.

Across multiple pitches, there was practice for the sub-Juniors and try-outs for the Under 12 through to Under 18 age groups. This week, the focus was entirely on new players looking to join South Melbourne. Week two would see existing players join the squad to secure their own place in the line-up, followed by a final third week to finalise the squads.

Over a hundred players were invited and walked on to the pitch on Saturday. There were five separate groups participating in exercises ranging from passing drills, small sided games and full matches. The calibre of players on display was impressive with some capable of matching it with the best South Melbourne has to offer.

They were supported by a significant number of the South Melbourne coaching and support staff including:
– Matthew Borowicz – Youth Program Coordinator, Under 14s and Under 12s coach
– Davide Bertamini: Under 16s coach
– Sasa Kolman: Under 20s, Under 15s and Miniroos coach
– Manny Georgiou: Goal Keeping and Miniroos coach
– Kris Peladrinos: Under 20s team manager
– Jamie Reed: Member of South Melbourne FC 2014 NPL Victoria Championship team and Miniroos coach
– James Wain: Miniroos coach
– Samuel Young: Under 13s and Miniroos coach spoke with Samuel Young during the day to under the progress being made with the sub-Juniors or Miniroos program. Young said “we don’t trial for sub-juniors. We have the spring training on now and then we accept the players. Up until December we train three times a week and they come down to Albert Park. Then we have a month off and in the first week back we allocate the boys into teams for the Miniroos competitions,” he said.

“Next season we are looking for three teams in each of the Under 9, 10 and 11 age groups and one team for the Under 7s, however, they don’t play competitive games. The demand and interest in playing for South Melbourne is such that we can have three teams in each age group. Everyone has recognised the success of the program this year. We are Champions and we are promoting this program as a pathway to the Seniors. That’s what the goal is and that’s what my job is. This program is the first step for those aiming for the first team in eight years or so.” Young explained.

Whilst Samuel Young was focusing on the sub-Juniors program, Youth Program Coordinator Matthew Borowicz was armed with a clipboard and spent his day walking between the two pitches and conversing with his colleagues. At the end of the day, shared a few minutes of his time to reflect on what he had seen. Matthew went on to say “overall the trials are progressing very well. We are happy with the turnout and the quality is mixed. There are some good players we already have our eyes on. The competition will be much harder next week as our existing boys are coming into it.”

We asked Borowicz specifically if there were players he could see coming into the South Melbourne line-up. “Definitely, definitely. To be honest we had a very good season overall across the age groups and we are only looking for a few players in each age groups to fill the gaps and challenge our existing players. We are not looking for a revolution to change the whole squads because we are happy with most of the players.”

Lastly, Borowicz shared the next steps in the trial process including how much the existing players are part of the trial to make the squad. “Of course, they have to earn it. They will be more surprised that they think. In our trials we always look for games and game play as that is what they are going to do on the weekend and that’s what counts.”

The trials for the Under 12 to Under 18 age groups continues with three training sessions during the week before returning to Albert Park next Saturday. The invite-only trials for the Under 20s commence on 8th October.

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