Birighitti off on Young Roos’ European Tour

While most of the Reds’ squad is working hard on the track in the local surroundings of Adelaide during pre-season training, goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is about to head off on a European training camp with the Qantas Young Socceroos.

While most of the Reds- squad is working hard on the track in the local surroundings of Adelaide during pre-season training, goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is about to head off on a European training camp with the Qantas Young Socceroos.

The 20 year old goalkeeper was one of 23 players named by Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Versleijen for the 15 day camp which begins on May 23. Versleijen selected a mixture of Australian-based and overseas-based players for the camp that will provide a final chance for players to bid for a place in Australia-s squad for the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup to be held in Colombia from late July.

Based in the Netherlands during the tour, Birighitti and the Young Socceroos will play an international friendly against the German U-19 National team in Kamen-Kaiserau on Friday 27 May before competing at the Terborg Tournament from 3-5 June.

“This tour is important for us as one of our last chances to prepare before we head to Columbia,” Versleijen said.

“It is now up to the players selected to prove themselves in a very competitive market for World Cup places.”

The Terborg Tournament, which is in its 32nd edition, is a Youth team competition that is played with matches in a modified format of 2 x 20 minutes halves. The youth teams competing this year alongside the Qantas Young Socceroos include Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), FC Twente Enschede (Netherlands), De Graafschap Doetinchem (Netherlands), Boca Juniors (Argentina), Botafogo (Brazil), Cruzeiro (Brazil), Atlas Guadalajara (Mexico) and Unistar Soccer Academy (Ghana).

Set to go up against a host of elite football youth during the tournament, Birighitti is excited about the challenge and the opportunity to prove himself again as one of Australia-s most promising young keepers.

“I-m really looking forward to it. We-ve got some games in Holland against some quality opposition,” Birighitti said.

“At the end of the day it-s always good to know you can represent your country at any kind of level and I-m really looking forward to going overseas, performing well and hopefully getting picked in the World Cup squad.”

He may have played a significant role in the Young Socceroos- qualification for the World Cup, but Birighitti has had some stern competition as the team-s number one from talented Central Coast Mariners keeper Matt Ryan. Unfortunately for Ryan, he suffered a leg injury at the last Qantas Young Socceroos camp in Canberra, putting Birighitti in the box seat as the number one candidate to stand between the posts in Columbia. In addition to Ryan-s setback, Birighitti has also been vice-captain for a number of the Young Socceroos- recent fixtures, but he is not relying on these circumstances as a given that he will ensure him a World Cup spot.

“I really want to stake my claim over in Europe, do the best I can and then perform well. I really want that number one spot for the World Cup, so I-m really looking forward to the challenge and hopefully it all goes well,” Birighitti said.

“Having been vice captain of the squad I might have a foot in the door but at the end of the day I can-t take that into consideration.”

“I still have to go over to Europe, work hard, train well and try and impress the coaches. I still have to prove myself in everything I do, in training and in games.”

Although the Reds squad was given close to two months off at the end of last season, Birighitti continued with a solid training schedule, knowing that with the Under 20 World Cup coming up, he needed to keep his physical condition and reflexes at a peak.

“After the season finished I kept training because I knew it would be a big couple of months for me leading up to the World Cup. I-m lucky that I-ve been able to have extra sessions with Peter Blazincic (Adelaide United goalkeeper coach), and even when I went back to Perth to visit my family for a week I still trained over there with the local club I used to play for which was good,” Birighitti said.

“I knew if I didn-t do any training after the season finished that my body would have got out of hand and I would have been unfit, and I knew deep down that if I didn-t train then I-d be out of form and not have a chance of being at my best.”

Qantas Young Socceroos Squad List - European Tour 23 May - 6 June 2011 Matthew Acton (gk) (Brisbane Roar), Mustafa Amini (Central Coast Mariners), Terry Antonis (Sydney FC), Kearyn Baccus (Le Mans, France), Jake Barker-Daish (Gold Coast United), Mark Birighitti (gk) (Adelaide United), Kofi Danning (Sydney FC), Jason Davidson (Sporting Covilha, Portugal), Matthew Fletcher (Sunderland, England), Petar Franjic (Melbourne Victory), Sam Gallagher (Central Coast Mariners), Corey Gameiro (Fulham, England), Jason Geria (Brisbane Roar), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Brendan Hamill (Melbourne Heart), Bernie Ibini-Isei (Central Coast Mariners), Josip Konyit (Dinamo Zagreb, Croatia), George Lambadaridis (Club Brugge, Germany), Massimo Luongo (Tottenham Hotspur, England), Steven Lustica (Hajduk Split, Croatia), Dylan McGowan (Hearts FC, Scotland), Trent Sainsbury (Central Coast Mariners), Marc Warren (Sheffield United, England)

Match Details Germany U-19 Men-s National Team vs. Qantas Young Socceroos Kick-Off 4pm, Friday, 27 May 2011 Sportcentrum, Kamen-Kaiserau, Germany

Terborg Tournament Venue: ABCO Beveiliging, Terborg, Netherlands Dates: 3-5 June 2011 For more information regarding the Terborg Tournament, visit