Adelaide United Youth Reserves Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, believes player development and winning are not mutually exclusive ahead of their Round 1 opener against Raiders Reserves.
United Youth Reserves were crowned minor premiers on goal difference last season but suffered an aggregate loss in the qualifying final and subsequent defeat in the elimination final.
Stenta said he was interested to see how his team will fare this season with a set of fresh challenges.
“Very much looking forward to the new season,” he said.
“Obviously last year was quite a positive one for the Reserves side.
“So we’re looking forward to again testing ourselves against some quality opposition and seeing how we go.”
Having not faced Raiders last season due them competing in State League One, Stenta admitted he is not entirely sure what to expect, despite playing them in a pre-season friendly.
“They’re a little bit of an unknown quantity, although we did play them in a pre-season game but that was quite early on in the piece,” he revealed.
“And pre-season can often be a little bit different to the regular season.
“But I think every team we come up against this year is going to provide a stern test for us and a challenge and that’s what we’re really looking forward to.”
During the offseason several players made the progression from the Reserves squad and into the Youth Team, coached by Paul Pezos.
Stenta said player development and creating a winning environment can occur simultaneously.
He suggested that while developing players is ultimately the primary objective as a youth coach, both facets are equally crucial in order to provide the best opportunity for success.
“I think they go hand in hand, I think it is about player development,” he explained.
“So we’re trying to bring the players into our program, our youth set-up and have them progress so that one day they can play for the Youth Team.
“And there’s a few boys from our Reserves squad last year that have made that step and will be playing with Paul Pezos’ side a lot this year which is great.
“But part of that development has to be about instilling a winning culture and making sure that winning is at the forefront of the players’ minds.
“So that regardless of the result at the end of the day it’s more an attitude and a culture that we feel if you’re going to be a successful footballer you need to have.”
Adelaide United Youth Reserves face Raiders Reserves in Round 1 of the National Premier League 2019 Reserves season on Saturday, 23 February at Croatian Sports Centre. Kick-off is at 12.45 PM.