By Skip Fulton
The second week of the Heritage Youth Cup kicked off last weekend and five of South Melbourne’s Miniroos teams were in action. The teams recorded a mix of wins, draws and losses across the two days of football.
The Heritage Youth Cup is in its second year and is an end of season invitational tournament for Miniroos teams across Melbourne. It provides an opportunity for Miniroos teams to play against teams they would not normally meet and for most to get a taste of competitive football for the first time. Throughout the Miniroos season, the scores aren’t recorded so there are no winners or losers and obviously there is no ladders either. The boys and girls playing will count their goals and naturally the parents know who won and lost, but officially there are no results. Hence this tournament could be the first exposure some of these kids have to finals and winning a competition.
Over the last two weeks smfc.com.au have spoken to a number of different clubs playing at De Chene Reserve and all of them have their focus on individual player development and making sure the kids are having fun. Some of these clubs actively promote their Miniroos teams and their participation in the tournament whilst others do not. The most important factor however is the tournament bringing together one hundred and forty seven teams to play football.
On the sidelines for both games on Saturday, once again, was South Melbourne President Leo Athansakis. “I love coming to watch the young kids play. They are learning and they enjoy playing so much. Sometimes I like it more than watching the older age groups” he said.
We discussed with the Club President how this tournament fits into the overall structure of a club like South Melbourne. It was an interesting chat that highlighted the need to find the right balance between playing too much football and also keeping it fun. South Melbourne is possibly the only club that has its Miniroos teams training three times a week.
There was one point Mr Athansakis made very clear and that was South Melbourne would return to the Heritage Youth Cup year after year and look to grow its participation with more Miniroos teams. “This is without doubt the best run tournament South Melbourne participates in across all levels. The organisation is amazing, the volunteers are great, the structure is simple yet effective and have you downloaded the app yet? You’ve got to get it. This tournament is a credit to the Moreland Zebras and the whole team who run it” he said.
Action is everywhere at De Chene Reserve each week in the Heritage Youth Cup. There are four matches in progress at all times and with only a fifteen minutes break on each ground, the football is continuous all day.
The following is a summary of how South Melbourne’s four Miniroos teams went this weekend.
Coming off a first round win, the Under 8s came up against Northcote City who in the first week recorded a 3-3 draw with Point Cook. South was under pressure early however took their chances to move forward and were able to secure a goal. Northcote however were too strong and were able to put two goals in the net to secure the win. South going down 1-2.
The South Melbourne ‘A’ team went down last week to Beaumaris and this week faced Northcote City. They boys had a solid performance after being under pressure early. South took the lead with a good follow-up strike when the ball rebounded after a good save by the Northcote goalkeeper. Not to be outdone, Northcote rallied and found the equaliser in the second half. The result was a 1-1 draw.
The South Melbourne ‘B’ team walked on to the pitch to meet the Eltham Red Backs who went down 1-0 to Bundoora last week. The two teams were closely matched and it was only a single goal to the Red Backs that could separate them at the final whistle. South going down 0-1.
This week the team faced Spring Hills who went down 1-2 to Moreland Zebras last week. Spring Hills were a talented team and put South on the back foot early on. Our boys struggled to find space however individual brilliance bought about our first goal with a stunning strike from about fifteen yards out. The boys would continue to capitalise on their opportunities and held good structure as they went forward, making the best of both wings. Their three nil lead at half-time would be extended by another two by the end of the match. South winning 5-0.
After the match smfc.com.au spoke to some of the players about the game. “We played very well and scored lots of goals. I think we’ll do really well next week against Moreland” said Cail Thomson. Asked about Springs Hills and the strength of his own team, Thomson said “They were pretty strong, they had good defence, but we had better defence. [Our strength is] we work together, we have lots of strikers and good defence. We have a good coach, best coach ever.”
Paul Salami also reflected on the win saying “We went pretty good, scored lots of goals and we won. Michael played well today cause he scored two goals”. We asked Salami what enabled the team to win and he highlighted “we have good defence, good attacking and a good goal keeper”.
The Under 11s secured a 1-0 win last week over Lalor United and this week continued the theme of round two in playing against Northcote City. This was a high scoring game for both sides with play going from end-to-end. Despite all the goals neither team were able to find that winning kick and the result was a 3-3 draw.
Next matches – Saturday 11th October
At 9am the Under 11s team take on Pascoe Vale
At 10am the Under 9A team take on Point Cook
At 11am the Under 8s team take on Point Cook
Next matches – Sunday 12th October
At 9am the Under 9B team take on Bundoora United
At 11am the Under 10s team take on Moreland Zebras