Field of dreams for future stars
PLAN to visit BCU International Stadium at some time over the next seven days when the cream of Australia's emerging young football talent will battle for interstate supremacy.
The FFA National Youth Championships for 14 and 15 year olds has a habit of getting future stars noticed.
Like, Ben Kantarovski who was running around for Northern New South Wales this time last year and is currently in Uzbekistan with the National Joeys squad competing in the AFC Under 16 Championships.
Young Ben signed from this event with the Newcastle Jets and became the youngest-ever to play in the A-League.
Local footballers Ryan Cole and Reece Coleman (14 years) and Matthew Hughes and Dashiel Carty (15 years) are already making enormous sacrifices to follow their dreams to football stardom.
For Ryan, it's a committed family project that sees him playing out of Lismore in the Far North Coast league and has involved mum (Anne) and dad (Neil) covering more than 30,000 kilometres over the last six months.
“If you asked 'would we be prepared to do it again?'- the answer in 'yes', most definitely,” Neil Cole said.
“As a family we do the round trip for training on Thursday, and away games every second weekend can see us in Maroochydore, Stanthorpe or Toowoomba.
“The reward is top competition every time Ryan plays.”
For Matthew Hughes, the distances are not as great but according to dad, Jeff, the dedication needed is every bit as strong.
“Matt has spent two years with the North Coast youth competition but next year, he'll be closer to home, turning out in club matches with Boambee Bombers,” he said.
The selected players will experience an environment similar to what they can expect if signed to an A-League club with all movements done as a group, according to the plans laid down by the management team.
There's special emphasis on the physical and emotional well-being of the squad and restricted access to outside influences.
For the next seven days, the boys will live and breathe football, while having the biggest experience of their young lives.
NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES
1 - James Eccles (gk) - Northern Inland
2 - Jarrod Oliveri - Macquarie
3 - Cody Lucas - Macquarie
4 - Reece Coleman - Mid North Coast
5 - Dominic Bizzari - Macquarie
6 - Blake Green - Macquarie
7 - Abe Wheelhouse - Macquarie
8 - Michael Finlayson - Macquarie
9 - Sterling Wylie - Northern Inland
10 - Patrick Brown - Macquarie
11 - Ryan Cole - Far North Coast
12 - Luke Remington - Macquarie
13 - Nicholas Bennett - Newcastle
14 - Daniel Campbell - Newcastle
15 - Terry Surjan - Newcastle
16 - Jesse Cook (gk) Newcastle
Manager: Anthony Richards
Coach: Gerard Carey
Physio: Bruce Hutchison
1 - Daniel Walton (gk) - Hunter Valley
2 - Damian Cox - Macquarie
3 - Alex Kantarovski - Newcastle
4 - Stuart Pratt - Macquarie
5 - Brodhi Moore - Newcastle
6 - Hayden Witherspoon - Hunter Valley
7 - Cody Higgs - Macquarie
8 - Matthew Commerford - Macquarie
9 - Kevin Davison - Macquarie
10 - Harry Maguire - Newcastle
11 - Dashiel Carty - Macquarie
12 - Blake Hall - Hunter Valley
13 - Matthew Hughes - North Coast
14 - David Andrews - Newcastle
15 - Scott Straub - Northern Inland
16 - Brayden Spencer (gk) - Macquarie
Manager: Andy Lennon
Coach: Brett Cowburn
Physio: Terry Heinz