Shockwaves reverberated around the Australian football community when a very youthful Adelaide United beat one of the country’s best NPL teams Campbelltown City away from home 2-1 on the weekend.
Campbelltown City have won the SA NPL for three seasons on the trot as well being the national champions in 2018 and making the last 32 of the FFA Cup in 2019.
They have a squad that includes multiple ex-A-League players, play an easy-on-the-eye brand of football and are in contention for a place in Division 2 of the A-League.
As great as a team they are, the contingent of interstate scouts and managers that tried to remain inconspicuous throughout the match were there to run the rule over several of the nation’s talented kids playing for the opposition.
A recently-turned 16-year-old Johnny Yull and teammate Yaya Dukuly scored the goals.
It hasn’t been easy for the Adelaide United NPL team. They have lost their first two games and their players are being targeted by bigger and much older players, trying to put the bright young upstarts back in their place.
The players are identified early by scouts like myself and their progress is monitored over the course of several years, with the end goal to have these boys go through all the age groups playing together until they’re ready to move into the first team.
The young Reds finished a disappointing tenth last year in a coronavirus-interrupted campaign and have a new head coach at the helm in Ayrton Andrioli.
Andrioli was appointed the club’s new head of youth football in November last year and he works closely with Carl Veart, Ross Aloisi and the rest of the coaching staff.
He is tasked with trying to pick a weekly XI from the most outrageously talented group of young players in this country. The current squad consists of the following players.
James Delianov and Joe Gauci are both tussling to be the number one goalkeeper for the first team. Third-choice keeper Dakota Ochsenham kept several clean sheets in the NPL last year and there are high hopes for Ethan Cox.
In defence, Noah Smith, Yared Abetew and Fergus Lynch have made their first-team debuts already this season and I’d be expecting Kane Vidmar (son of Socceroos great Tony Vidmar), Alexander Popovic and Jean Paul Mbembe to follow suit in the next 18 months.
Although the club’s midfield stocks aren’t the deepest, Louis D’Arrigo, Josh Cavallo and Johnny Yull have all contributed for the first team this season and there are a couple of sons of Adelaide United greats – Ethan Alagich (Richie Alagich) and Bernardo (Cassio) – who will be looking to follow their path.
The forward line is the best in all of Australia: Mohamed Toure, Yaya Dukuly, Pacifique Niyongabire, Kusini Yengi and Al Hassan Toure have played regularly in the A-League this season.
Binyam Kebede, Luka Jovanovic and Nestor Irankunda are names for the future, but there are two players that are attracting a lot of interest.
Tricky winger Domenic Costanzo (son of the great Angelo Costanzo) plundered 14 goals in 18 matches last season and the 15-year-old youngest Toure brother, Musa, is the most skilful at the club.
The vultures have been circling this group of players for some time, waiting to pick the bones out of this team, as it will be financially impossible for Adelaide to keep a hold of all these talents.
They leave with the club’s blessing, but as one door shuts, another opens.
A group of ten-12-year-olds have already been identified as the next batch to come from Australia’s hottest conveyer belt of talent, Adelaide.