Youth given a chance by the coaching staff

It was a very interesting game last round against the Wellington Phoenix for Waitakere United. Waitakere United fielded 5 players who are still eligible for the National Youth League team in the matchday squad. The players, all still eligible for the NZ U20 team were:

  • Matt Conroy
  • Alex Connor-McClean
  • Luke Jorgensen
  • Oscar Browne
  • Lachlan McIssac

To gain a 5-1 win over the development and professional players of the Wellington Phoenix certainly holds the club in good stead for the future. For many, it was a chance to impress against professional players, who are on full-time contracts with the Wellington Phoenix, as they look to forge their own careers.

For a youth player, the learnings they pick up whilst training against senior players is invaluable and a key part of their development. Most development experts agree that for a player to excel he must be tested and hardened in training and games and that development is significantly enhanced by playing and training with senior players. Senior players, on the other hand, must inform, teach and encourage during sessions and games to help the developing player make better decisions and actions.

Our National Youth League team which is full of young 2002 players, many who are eligible for the NZ U17 team, are also on a steep learning curve. They had a very good 3-1 result over the Wellington Phoenix team, many who were in the U17 team that competed in the Oceania qualifiers recently. This was after a 9-6 loss the week before when the harsh learning about not defending from the front was punished. Both teams were guilty of treating defending like a by-product of the game instead of one of the key fundamentals of the game.

The focus on youth and giving them opportunities to play National League is vital for the future. The likes of Tawanda Morewa and others have already been given minutes in the first team and youth team players Nicholas Milicich, Jake Michell, Hayden Aish, Clarke Foulds, Nick Burke are regular attendees at first-team training sessions.

Waitakere United is excited about the future and how these young, talented players will develop. The club believes that our future is with the younger players, especially as we still have the massive experience available from the likes of Jake Butler, Bill Robertson, Sam Burfoot and David Parkinson. We must utilise that experience, whilst its available to develop the next generation of top Waitakere United footballers.

The future is bright.

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