By Skip Fulton
This weekend will see the South Melbourne Under 20s side return to Albert Park to trial for the 2015 NPL Victoria season. It also marks the third and final week of trials for the Under 12 to Under 18 NPL Victoria age groups.
The size of each trial squad continues to diminish as the youth coaching team review and assess each players individual technique, ability, attitude and football aptitude. With the 2014 NPL Victoria season behind them, the coaches aren’t looking to make significant changes but rather tinker at the edges, bringing in only a few players at each age group.
At the end of last weekends trials, smfc.com.au spoke with Under 16s coach Davide Bertamini on the progress the youth coaches are making with the various squads. “We have just finished the second week of trials. From this week, we had the South Melbourne boys joining the other players. It has been good. The level has been good and we are looking forward to getting some players in each squad” he said.
Bertamini also explained the path forward saying “the schedule is the same so every team will train three times a week and at the end of next week possibly we’ll finalise the team. After the trials we start training straight away”.
The structure of the youth coaching team is yet to be finalised for 2015. It is a matter of balancing priorities and opportunities between keeping a team together with the same coach for next year versus providing them with exposure to a different coach on game day.
The strength of the South Melbourne structure however is that during the week at each of the three training sessions, the coaches all work as a team and have full visibility of players across all age groups. Furthermore the coaches actively work to identify players who are ready to be challenged at the next level and they may be developed further through additional academy style training sessions or playing at a higher age group.