The clubs in the A-League seem to be starting to get the hang of youth development.
Whether it’s linking up with NPL clubs or having success in the Y-League, here’s a look at who is doing it best.
The Reds’ youth team had a good NPL season, finishing fifth out of 12, with ten wins, five draws and seven losses.
They made it to the second week of the finals after beating the Adelaide Comets and then losing to the North-Eastern Metro Stars.
In the Y-League earlier this season, they finished third in their conference with three wins, two draws, three losses.
The club has nine players 20 and under in their senior team, with eight of them on scholarships. They have about 17 games between them, with the highlights being Apostolos Stamatelopoulos and Daniel Margush, while Louis D’Arrigo has been signed to the senior team.
Verdict: They are having good success on the pitch and are bringing players to their senior team. Not the greatest quality in them though.
The Roar’s NPL team could have had a better season, finishing nine out of 14 with eight wins, four draws and 14 losses.
In the Y-League, they finished last in their conference, with two wins, one draw and five losses.
The club has eight 20 and under players in the seniors, with four on scholarships, and six having 43 games between them. The ones to watch are Joe Caletti and Nicholas D’Agostino. They have signed another one to watch in record-breaking NPL player Dylan Wenzel-Halls who scored 23 goals in 11 games for the Western Pride.
Verdict: Not great on the pitch but are getting in their 16 and 17-year-old scholars. Can’t wait to see Wenzel-Halls can do.
Central Coast Mariners
This club doesn’t have a team competing in the NPL, but finished fourth in the NPL NSW 2, while their Y-League team finished fourth in their conference.
They have four seniors 20 and under, with one of them on a scholarship. They have 21 games between them, mostly coming from Kye Rowles and Mario Shabow. They have signed Joe Gauci and Mario Shabow, as well as Josh Macdonald, Jordan Murray and Matthew Millar from the NPL.
Verdict: Not great on the pitch and not many players.
Another club without an NPL team, City play in Victoria East and currently sit sixth with nine wins, four draws and 14 losses.
The club had a great Y-League season though, making the grand Final, and have 12 players who are 20 and under, with 11 scholars. They have 17 games between them, with Lachlan Wales and Nathaniel Atkinson the ones to watch.
Verdict: 12 players promises to get one very good one. Must get promoted into NPL though.
Victory does not have an NPL team either, but their youths play in Victoria West and are currently seventh with 11 wins, four draws and 12 losses.
The recent Y-League season saw the Victory finish second in their conference, and the champions have six 20 and under players, with five on scholarships.
This season I would look out for Joshua Hope and for Birkan Kirder, but there have been no youth signings yet.
Verdict: Not great. They really need to get more on-field success, more players and more quality.
The Jets’ NPL club finished seventh with seven wins, three draws and ten losses. In the early-season Y-League they finished third with three wins, three draws and two losses.
They have six players in the 20 and under category and two have a scholarship deal. They have 46 games between those players and I would look out for Johnny Koutroumbis and Angus Thurgate. Angus is the only youth player signing for the Jets so far.
Verdict: Decent on-field success and are producing great players with it. They are on track.
The Glory have had their best NPL season yet, making the grand final with 16 wins, six draws and four losses. In the Y-League, they finished fourth in their conference, with three wins, one draw and four losses.
They have eight players 20 and under, with 40 games between them, and none on scholarships.
I would keep my eye one Jake Brimmer and Jacob Italiano. They have not made any youth signings yet.
Verdict: Having great on-field success and producing wonderful players. Doing very well.
The premiers had a poor NPL season, finishing last with four wins, four draws and 14 losses. Their Y-League was better though, finishing in second for their conference.
They only have one 20 and under player in their senior team, which is Trent Buhagiar, who they just signed from the Central Coast Mariners and has played 50 games.
Verdict: Only one youth player is not good enough and they could do better on the pitch.
Western Sydney Wanderers
The Wanderers’ youth team were the champions of the Y-League. They don’t play in the NPL but in NPL2 they finished 11th out of 14.
They’ve got eight players 20 and under, with three on scholarships and ten games between them.
The ones to watch are Keanu Baccus and Abraham Majok, while the club have signed Tass Mourdoukoutas from the youth team, as well as others.
Verdict: They are producing well and playing great on the Y-League side, but they need to give their youngsters more game time.
I have not put the Wellington Phoenix in as I don’t think they will survive in the league past this season.