The Hyundai A-league 2014/15 season is just around the corner, but at the club Youth League coaches have been working hard to find the missing link between Australian grass roots football and the top tier.
Not until recent years was this link strong as access to youth players wasn’t as easy as what it is now.
But in the past twelve months there has been a big transformation around Adelaide United to help make the transition to a professional footballer easier.
With Coach, Michael Valkanis working hard to scout the best young talent he can find, his aim is to provide players that are ready to play for the senior.
By doing so Valkanis must implement Josep Gombau’s style of play into the Youth squad so that when injury strikes a player from the youth team can be ready.
“Our goal is that when Josep asks for a player to go to training we can say yep he can go up.
“He can go up and feel comfortable, one playing the style, two knowing the movements of the style and three doing well so that he remains there.” Said Michale Valkanis
And this year has been a vast improvement for the team compared to previous seasons as training sessions have been bumped up from two to three times a week last year, to four to five times a week.
Plus with the team being able to play a South Australian State League most weeks, Michael Valkanis has been able to assess where the players are at in terms of playing style.
“(Last year) We had one month to try and prepare and try to get them up to scratch in regards of the style, tactically and physically.
“This year we’ve been able to start from the technique and spend time on the skills that are required for the, to work on the style, to work then on the movements – patterns of play.
“It takes in some cases, good cases three to four months.”
Not only has this rigorous training been beneficial to the club, but it will create a strong base to launch players into a promising football career.
The system is already proving to be a success with players such as Awer Mabil, Anthony Costa, Nathan Konstandopoulos and Bruce Kamau training with the first team, along with Ruon Tongyik and Jordan Pudler.
Mabil the most recognised who has not only earned himself a few caps for Adelaide United but was recently named in AFC U-19 Socceroo squad.
In the next week the Youth Team coaches in collaboration with the A-League coaches will determine and select the National Foxtel Youth League squad for the 2014/15 season.