Matt Hughes and Ryan Coles are following their dreams.
Matt Hughes and Ryan Coles are following their dreams. Coffs Coast Advocate

FFA Youth Championships still on track

HOLDING a brand-new National Championships for junior soccer players in April 2009 won't have a negative impact on the FFA Youth Championships for Boys and Girls to be held in Coffs Harbour later in the year.

The new venture to be held in Canberra from April 12-18 during school holidays, will cater for Under 14 girls and Under 13 boys at one single tournament rather than segregate the players as is the present situation.

Northern New South Wales Football will field at least two teams and football manager David Smith said the age groups playing would actually offer an essential extra tier of competition for players to make themselves known to representative selectors.

“While further planning for Canberra is still underway it looks like it will feed directly into the age levels in Coffs Harbour,” he said.

“In Coffs, the boys will still compete at 14 and 15 Years while the girls will remain at 15 and 17 Years and I've heard of no plans to change that.”

During the last FFA boys championships in particular, many players in the 14 Years age group were actually much younger, due to the lack of a lead-in series.

They included 13-year-old local player, Ryan Cole, who had been playing against the older boys for almost two years and had even travelled interstate in search of higher grade competitions that might further his career opportunities.

“We are still finalising the selection procedure including dates, venues and coaches for the trials and everything should be in place by early in the New Year,” Smith said.

“We already have an excellent scouting program and many potential recruits have already received the tap on the shoulder but the trials are necessary so that every opportunity to catch the eye of a selector is given.”

The FFA Championships return to BCU International Stadium from July 11 to 18 for girls with the boys' tournament from October 3 to 10.

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