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Shahanga

Developing youth players

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So where do good players come from? Just happens? If they're any good they'll make it somehow? It's something I've thought about for a while and I believe whilst talent is vital it also needs opportunity. Let's look at a few examples.

1. Close to our hearts. Craig Goodwin. Behich gets injured and JVS instead of shuffling around experienced players, brings in his youth team left back instead even though it's a do or die Derby. Guy gets MoM . Now because of the bullshit a League transfer rules the kid leaves on free but with his talent show cased he got a good offer that helped make the step to A League regular.

2. Michael Zullo, Mitch Nichols & Robbie Kruse because of tight budgets, maybe poor recruiting or what ever Queensland Roar in 2007 (?) found themselves dominating but losing games. After a number of games manager Frank Farina had had enough and started both Zullo and  Kruse with Nichols ( a kid he picked up from Palm Beach) off the bench. Kruse and Zullo scored and Nicholls impressed. These 3 careers never looked back (though Nicholls has scored a few "own goals" since). 

What would have happened if these guys weren't given these chances? How many kids wither on the vine because conservative A League coaches play guy's like Warren and Hoffman instead?

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I blame the FFA. They're too comfortable with the league the way it is. In order to develop youth we need two main things immediately.

1) Expansion. More teams = more room on lists for younger players and a more widely spread talent pool, meaning managers will need to use youth. 

2) Transfer fees between A League clubs. Why bother developing youth if they can just walk off to a bigger club for free? Transfer fees encourage teams to develop youth and sell them. Central Coast are basically only alive due to their ability to produce great young talent and sell them overseas. Mile Jedinak, Trent Sainsbury, Matt Ryan just to name a few.

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9 hours ago, Shahanga said:

So where do good players come from? Just happens? If they're any good they'll make it somehow? It's something I've thought about for a while and I believe whilst talent is vital it also needs opportunity. Let's look at a few examples.

1. Close to our hearts. Craig Goodwin. Behich gets injured and JVS instead of shuffling around experienced players, brings in his youth team left back instead even though it's a do or die Derby. Guy gets MoM . Now because of the bullshit a League transfer rules the kid leaves on free but with his talent show cased he got a good offer that helped make the step to A League regular.

2. Michael Zullo, Mitch Nichols & Robbie Kruse because of tight budgets, maybe poor recruiting or what ever Queensland Roar in 2007 (?) found themselves dominating but losing games. After a number of games manager Frank Farina had had enough and started both Zullo and  Kruse with Nichols ( a kid he picked up from Palm Beach) off the bench. Kruse and Zullo scored and Nicholls impressed. These 3 careers never looked back (though Nicholls has scored a few "own goals" since). 

What would have happened if these guys weren't given these chances? How many kids wither on the vine because conservative A League coaches play guy's like Warren and Hoffman instead?

This is the story of life itself. Many people don't get the opportunities and their talent goes to waste. In my life I have et many company directors and two stand out as to how dumb and stupid they were. They got those positions simply because they inherited them.

Then when you look at Zullo, Kruse, NIcholls and Sarota they had a fine coach in Ange. What would have happened if they got JVS? or JA?

Not entirely sure that all A-League coaches are conservative, nor for that matter do I know whether European leagues are just as conservative. However I do think that the structure for developing youth needs a big re-think.

8 hours ago, GreenSeater said:

I blame the FFA. They're too comfortable with the league the way it is. In order to develop youth we need two main things immediately.

1) Expansion. More teams = more room on lists for younger players and a more widely spread talent pool, meaning managers will need to use youth. 

2) Transfer fees between A League clubs. Why bother developing youth if they can just walk off to a bigger club for free? Transfer fees encourage teams to develop youth and sell them. Central Coast are basically only alive due to their ability to produce great young talent and sell them overseas. Mile Jedinak, Trent Sainsbury, Matt Ryan just to name a few.

To blame the FFA is easy - they get blamed for everything.

On 1) where are the finances and facilities gong to come from? If you recall Heart used wheelie bins as ice buckets. Do you really think that this type of environment encourages youth? If you look at the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast, their youth talent wants out.

2)Transfer fees are the end all. Clubs could easily settle as being youth developers and never aspire to win any silverware. I am not sure that this would be good for the game in Australia. However I do believe that some type of barter/cash payment should be introduced.

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1 hour ago, NewConvert said:

On 1) where are the finances and facilities gong to come from? If you recall Heart used wheelie bins as ice buckets. Do you really think that this type of environment encourages youth? If you look at the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast, their youth talent wants out.

2)Transfer fees are the end all. Clubs could easily settle as being youth developers and never aspire to win any silverware. I am not sure that this would be good for the game in Australia. However I do believe that some type of barter/cash payment should be introduced.

1) Aziz Behich, Craig Goodwin and Stefan Mauk went from those wheelie bins to playing for the national team. Ben Garruccio went on to become a regular A League starter. Whilst the facilities at Heart weren't the best, I imagine they were no worse than most NPL teams. I think there is definitely room for growth in the league. Not 10 extra teams at once, but look at the success of the Wanderers.  Put a team in a football town and market them successfully, there is no reason why we can't have more clubs. Woollongong comes to mind as an easy first new team. 

2) Developing youth seems to work well for Ajax. Transfer fees allow clubs to develop youth and sign experienced players with the money they make. Central Coast are essentially already a selling club, but if they got more return from their investment in each player, clubs would be more willing to put money into development.

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2 hours ago, NewConvert said:

2)Transfer fees are the end all. Clubs could easily settle as being youth developers and never aspire to win any silverware. I am not sure that this would be good for the game in Australia. However I do believe that some type of barter/cash payment should be introduced.

I don't follow your objection to transfer fees. To allow them doesn't mean they will apply to all players - plenty of players all over the world still move on free transfers despite the presence of transfer fees. Under the present rules, A-League clubs can, if they wish to, pay transfer fees to all other clubs except A-league clubs, and that just doesn't make sense to me. At least remove the prohibition and allow the option.

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I know virtually no one on here agrees with me but in my view 5 imports for A League sides is too many.  Another factor holding back Australian player development.

its worth remembering that whilst we might complain about the FFA, the owners are the ones who don't want a women's league, don't want a youth league, don't want the league to expand and would love to field XI foreigners every week. (I wouldn't include CFG in that group though, was thinking of Tony Sage as an example).

Edited by Shahanga

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2 hours ago, Shahanga said:

I know virtually no one on here agrees with me but in my view 5 imports for A League sides is too many.  Another factor holding back Australian player development.

its worth remembering that whilst we might complain about the FFA, the owners are the ones who don't want a women's league, don't want a youth league, don't want the league to expand and would love to field XI foreigners every week. (I wouldn't include CFG in that group though, was thinking of Tony Sage as an example).

Thats a big call to blanket all the owners together and say they don't want any of those things. Secondly 5 imports a side is fine but the problem is the lack of expansion. Nine professionally based teams is pathetic. 

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6 hours ago, GreenSeater said:

1) Aziz Behich, Craig Goodwin and Stefan Mauk went from those wheelie bins to playing for the national team. Ben Garruccio went on to become a regular A League starter. Whilst the facilities at Heart weren't the best, I imagine they were no worse than most NPL teams. I think there is definitely room for growth in the league. Not 10 extra teams at once, but look at the success of the Wanderers.  Put a team in a football town and market them successfully, there is no reason why we can't have more clubs. Woollongong comes to mind as an easy first new team. 

2) Developing youth seems to work well for Ajax. Transfer fees allow clubs to develop youth and sign experienced players with the money they make. Central Coast are essentially already a selling club, but if they got more return from their investment in each player, clubs would be more willing to put money into development.

I don't dispute the expansion of the A-Legue. And I think that the Wollongong Wolves should be allowed to join as well as either a team in Canberra or in Geelong. Ultimately I think that 14 teams would be ideal in 10 years. None the less, I would hate to see a repeat of the NSL or the Fury or the GC. That is why I caution that teams will need to be financially viable.

As for Ajax, it is a completely different market with football being the most popular sport with twice as many members as the second ranked sport which is tennis. They are also in the middle of the biggest football market in the world. The dynamics are different. In Oz, the teams need to be competitive and the results need to be close - this is why the AFL has introduced so many rules to achieve this goal. It is not beyond any club to become a good destination for developing youth and remain competitive for silverware but it is also an easy way out for owners just to scout and on-sell.

6 hours ago, jw1739 said:

I don't follow your objection to transfer fees. To allow them doesn't mean they will apply to all players - plenty of players all over the world still move on free transfers despite the presence of transfer fees. Under the present rules, A-League clubs can, if they wish to, pay transfer fees to all other clubs except A-league clubs, and that just doesn't make sense to me. At least remove the prohibition and allow the option.

Typo error - meant to say that transfer fees are not the end of all discussions regarding youth development. I think this is where the clubs/FFA need to be creative - eg. swap two players for example or a buyback option; maybe a banking option so that if a club poaches a lot of youth over a three year window they need to provide development funds.

3 hours ago, Shahanga said:

I know virtually no one on here agrees with me but in my view 5 imports for A League sides is too many.  Another factor holding back Australian player development.

its worth remembering that whilst we might complain about the FFA, the owners are the ones who don't want a women's league, don't want a youth league, don't want the league to expand and would love to field XI foreigners every week. (I wouldn't include CFG in that group though, was thinking of Tony Sage as an example).

I agree with you. I think that we should follow a 3+1 option where one of the visa players must come from the Asian federation. We could also have a 3+1+1 option where the fifth visa player is from the Oceania federation. 

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https://soundcloud.com/sbstheworldgame/breakdown-of-australias-loss-to-japan-and-what-it-means

From the 53 minute mark they spend 10 minutes talking about youth development. Foz has some great insight from dealing with families of current Socceroos when they were juniors and also from being a coach at Football NSW.

Fwiw I am also for implementing the 3+1 import rule.

 

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Also there needs to be a loan system in place in the A-League once there is expansion to 12 teams. Give clubs the ability to farm out younger players to a side where they have more chance of getting a run and can learn in a different environment, particularly as the Youth League is a shambles.

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Anyone else see the excellent Marty Johns interview with Craig Johnston on Fox last night?

Johnston is a bit of a different character but his tale (which I’ve heard him mention in part before) of spending hour upon hour upon hour every day practicing really highlights what Australian football is lacking. Kids just aren’t desperate enough to make it.

As in the past the best players are going to be those from struggling migrants, they’re the only ones with any hunger.

Looking at the Melbourne City team right now, we have 2 young players (not going to name them but it’s obvious who they are) with all the talent in the world for positioning running and dribbling yet neither can pass or shoot.

Those 2 young guys need to do what Johnston did and spend at least 4 hours every day practicing those skills (in addition to anything the club does) if they want to make it as fair dinkum pros. Will they? Time will tell I guess, but I know what I suspect.

Edited by Shahanga

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7 hours ago, Shahanga said:

Anyone else see the excellent Marty Johns interview with Craig Johnston on Fox last night?

Johnston is a bit of a different character but his tale (which I’ve heard him mention in part before) of spending hour upon hour upon hour every day practicing really highlights what Australian football is lacking. Kids just aren’t desperate enough to make it.

As in the past the best players are going to be those from struggling migrants, they’re the only ones with any hunger.

Looking at the Melbourne City team right now, we have 2 young players (not going to name them but it’s obvious who they are) with all the talent in the world for positioning running and dribbling yet neither can pass or shoot.

Those 2 young guys need to do what Johnston did and spend at least 4 hours every day practicing those skills (in addition to anything the club does) if they want to make it as fair dinkum pros. Will they? Time will tell I guess, but I know what I suspect.

Agree with this but this is nothing new. It is also part of the culture where TV hosts tend to emphasise the talent and downplay the hard work doing the mundane things. Michael Lynch had a similar article last year. FWIW here are two examples - in the AFL the leading goal kicker gets teh Coleman medal named after John Coleman who famously as a kid practiced his goal kicking hour after hour by trying to kick the ball through a car tyre hanging of a tree. The second example my godson went to Japan on an exchange program and being a sports nut who played AFL, basketball and cricket he thought he was pretty fit, until he joined the Japanese High School Athletics team where on his first training session being so hard he passed out. Only then he realised what it takes to become an elite athlete. He did come back very fit.

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1 hour ago, NewConvert said:

Agree with this but this is nothing new. It is also part of the culture where TV hosts tend to emphasise the talent and downplay the hard work doing the mundane things. Michael Lynch had a similar article last year. FWIW here are two examples - in the AFL the leading goal kicker gets teh Coleman medal named after John Coleman who famously as a kid practiced his goal kicking hour after hour by trying to kick the ball through a car tyre hanging of a tree. The second example my godson went to Japan on an exchange program and being a sports nut who played AFL, basketball and cricket he thought he was pretty fit, until he joined the Japanese High School Athletics team where on his first training session being so hard he passed out. Only then he realised what it takes to become an elite athlete. He did come back very fit.

Don Bradman, the golf ball, the stump and the water tank.

Edited by jw1739

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5 hours ago, jw1739 said:

Don Bradman, the golf ball, the stump and the water tank.

Johnston actually referred to that. Think he got the concept from it.

Ultimately it’s a society issue. If you look at the dates on Australian athletic records it makes sobering reading. The late Peter Norman still holds the 200m record, Rob De Castella still holds the marathon record.

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1 hour ago, Shahanga said:

Johnston actually referred to that. Think he got the concept from it.

Ultimately it’s a society issue. If you look at the dates on Australian athletic records it makes sobering reading. The late Peter Norman still holds the 200m record, Rob De Castella still holds the marathon record.

Pffft why would you want to go run around outside when you can sit down and play Fortnite all day whilst mum and dad cook you chicken nuggets?!

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How long should a player be given to develop before the club decides that there is no more that they can do for them? And alternatively, when the player decides the club can do no more for them?

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2 hours ago, NewConvert said:

How long should a player be given to develop before the club decides that there is no more that they can do for them? And alternatively, when the player decides the club can do no more for them?

Enter Kamau...

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On 29/10/2019 at 8:43 PM, NewConvert said:

How long should a player be given to develop before the club decides that there is no more that they can do for them? And alternatively, when the player decides the club can do no more for them?

Really this is what it’s all about isn’t it?

in Melbourne City’s case every young player you hang on to, means there is one you rejected, so the decisions are important.

For me the amount of time a player would be given relates to 1) raw talent 2) desire to help themselves. If I was in development I’d be looking at that, plus comparing them to next year’s prospects. Brutal but that’s the business.

Ultimately if they don’t have the desire you’re wasting your time.
(Players could still succeed at a new club though, especially if they learnt something from the rejection).

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31 minutes ago, Shahanga said:

Really this is what it’s all about isn’t it?

in Melbourne City’s case every young player you hang on to, means there is one you rejected, so the decisions are important.

For me the amount of time a player would be given relates to 1) raw talent 2) desire to help themselves. If I was in development I’d be looking at that, plus comparing them to next year’s prospects. Brutal but that’s the business.

Ultimately if they don’t have the desire you’re wasting your time.
(Players could still succeed at a new club though, especially if they learnt something from the rejection).

Craig Goodwin: delisted by AU, picked up by Oakleigh and then by Melbourne Heart.

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IMO it's too easy to be too simplistic about this. There have always been talented footballers who for various reasons have not gone on to be professionals, and it's not just a matter of talent and desire. In many cases it is because they have talents and opportunities in other fields of human endeavour that they'd rather pursue, because they can still play football and enjoy it outside of their other activities which offer them more professionally than football on its own can. This is why amateur football still flourishes, and some very talented footballers choose that path.

I can easily see why many of our young players are said to "not have the desire." Train five days a week, and perhaps get a few minutes A-League football on a Sunday evening at the end of a match that kicked off at 6.00 pm? Better to go to university, qualify in law or medicine or whatever, pursue a professional career and you can still play football in your leisure time.

In the past, in depressed areas such as the north of England, many youngsters worked hard to be professional footballers simply because they didn't want to go down the pit or into the mill. Today football clubs need to offer a lot more to young players than just football in order to develop and retain their football talent.

The  same applies to the fan base as well. People no longer go to watch football just because it is a relief from the rest of their mundane life. Clubs have to offer a lot more than that.

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8 hours ago, jw1739 said:

IMO it's too easy to be too simplistic about this. There have always been talented footballers who for various reasons have not gone on to be professionals, and it's not just a matter of talent and desire. In many cases it is because they have talents and opportunities in other fields of human endeavour that they'd rather pursue, because they can still play football and enjoy it outside of their other activities which offer them more professionally than football on its own can. This is why amateur football still flourishes, and some very talented footballers choose that path.

I can easily see why many of our young players are said to "not have the desire." Train five days a week, and perhaps get a few minutes A-League football on a Sunday evening at the end of a match that kicked off at 6.00 pm? Better to go to university, qualify in law or medicine or whatever, pursue a professional career and you can still play football in your leisure time.

In the past, in depressed areas such as the north of England, many youngsters worked hard to be professional footballers simply because they didn't want to go down the pit or into the mill. Today football clubs need to offer a lot more to young players than just football in order to develop and retain their football talent.

The  same applies to the fan base as well. People no longer go to watch football just because it is a relief from the rest of their mundane life. Clubs have to offer a lot more than that.

Indeed - if you look at the Brazilian national team or most of the latin american teams they don't have anyone with a professional degrees. They all come from teh slums.

But I think we are talking about those young players that want to become professional footballers - or indeed professional athletes in any sport. There are also kids that have no other talents and making it in sport is their best way to earn a living which is not shit.

It is no different to any other career in that sense. I have worked with young graduates that could not give a stuff until they are shown the door. Also I have worked with two that decided that engineering is not what they wanted to do after all and went and did other things - see Champness.

Ultimately if we are interested in developing youth then youth must also be interested in developing. But the question is how long do you keep them in the books?

 

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