Head Coach Jeff Hopkins has named his Young Roar squad for the Foxtel National Youth League 2014/15 season, ahead of this weekend’s campaign opener against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.
Hopkins’ side now also plays in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland competition in the winter and the club has decided on a larger playing group to compliment the year-long schedule now undertaken by Brisbane Roar’s youngest talents.
Players such as last season’s Foxtel National Youth League Player of the Year Brandon Borrello and fellow full-time youth contracted players Ben Litfin and Patrick Theodore also train regularly with the club’s Hyundai A-League squad.
“We’re working for the full 12 months of the year so it’s good for us to be able to work with a bigger squad and develop more players,” Hopkins said.
“Most of the players were with us last year as part of our training squad and that really proved to us that having that bigger squad paid dividends.
“A lot of them have now come through as part of our squad – players like Lachlan Gorry, Austin Ludwick, Nick D’Agostino – and now we’ll be asking these younger boys to step up in the National Youth League.”
Having finished seventh in the Foxtel National Youth League 2013/14 season, the former Fulham, Crystal Palace and Reading defender said the focus would be on both improving the next generation of Roar talent while securing valuable competition points.
“It’s all about developing the individual players but I think we need to strike the right balance – players need to learn how to win games as well,” he said.
“When you hit professional levels, the A-League, it’s about winning games. Number one is developing the player, their skills and their decision-making but they have to learn that the game at the top level is about winning games.”
A highlight for Hopkins in his young squad was the talent in the club’s attacking stocks.
“We’ve got a good stock of young strikers, both central strikers and wide players – players with a little bit of an X factor that are good one-on-one with good finishing skills,” Hopkins said.
“I’m hoping over the next six, 12, 18 months that these players will really develop and eventually I’ll be able to hand them over to Mike as part of the senior squad.”
Official confirmation of most of the club’s Foxtel National Youth League home venues will be made next week with Brisbane Roar likely to play between Goodwin Park and Perry Park in the 2014/15 season.
The Roar open their campaign this Sunday, 19 October away to Central Coast Mariners before hosting Adelaide United at home next Saturday, 25 October.
YOUNG ROAR 2014/15 SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Tomislav BILIC, Fraser CHALMERS, Denver CRICKMORE
Defenders: Cameron CRESTANI, Lachlan GORRY, Lachlan JACKSON, Jordon LAMPARD, Austin LUDWICK, Benjamin LYVIDIKOS, Sandro PASALIC, Matthew SCHMIDT, Jaiden WALKER
Midfielders: Jesse DALEY, Logan GRILLO, Mitchell HORE, Benjamin LITFIN, Stephen O’NEILL, Luke PAVLOU, Patrick THEODORE
Forwards: Brandon BORRELLO, Shannon BRADY, Nicholas D’AGOSTINO, Shelford DAIS, Connor O’NEILL, Samuel SIBATUARA, Abraham YANGO