Local players join Mariners' academy
Several Peninsula residents have been taking part in the Central Coast Mariners Youth Academy recently.
Peninsula residents in the junior squad for 15 and 16 year olds were James Brooker, Matt Goodwin, Hayden Mole, Matt Hogan and Jay Pilson.
Nathan Moseley was the only Peninsula resident in the senior squad for 17 and 18 year olds.
Media and communications officer Mr Benjamin Coonan said the Mariners Youth Academy was the first of its kind in the A-League and a further endorsement for the Central Coast's ambition to become the "centre of excellence for football in Australia".
"In association with Central Coast Football, the Central Coast's local football governing body, the Mariners have established the Youth Academy to expand upon the unique and unparalleled straight-line pathway for promising footballers on the Central Coast to realise their A-League aspirations," Mr Coonan said.
"Central Coast footballers are now able to be identified by their local club, before progressing to the Mariners Youth Academy and ultimately to the representative set-up offered by Central Coast Football through their Central Coast Lightning program.
"Once at the Central Coast Lightning, the official feeder club to the Mariners, players will be one step away from an A-League berth.
"Current Mariners squad members Nigel Boogaard, Bradley Porter, Matt Simon and Matthew Trott each had experience with the Lightning prior to inking deals with the Mariners."
Mariners executive chairman Mr Lyall Gorman said: "As we have maintained from day one, our aim is to become the centre of excellence for football in Australia and we see the establishment of our Youth Academy as an absolutely imperative and crucial step to our long-term ambitions.
"In nearly three A-League seasons, we've been quite blatant in promoting local talent before looking elsewhere, and you only need to look at our records to see that we've used eight players either born or raised on the Central Coast in competitive fixtures and a further six in trial matches.
"For a region of only 300,000 people, this in an incredibly high ratio and with the introduction of our Youth Academy, this ratio will only increase in the coming years.
"There is no longer any need for the Central Coast's best footballers to take their fledgling careers to Sydney or elsewhere, as on the Central Coast, through our Youth Academy and representative structure in association with Central Coast Football, we have established Australia's premier talent identification and youth development program."
The Mariners Youth Academy features two squads, one for 15 and 16-year-olds and one for 17 and 18-year-olds, each of which train weekly at the Mariners' Jubilee Oval training base under the guidance of Mariners coaching staff and squad members, before returning to their respective clubs for weekend matches.
Each member of the Mariners Youth Academy has been sourced from either one of the Central Coast's 22 local clubs, from Central Coast Football's representative program - the Central Coast Lightning, or from the repatriation of Central Coast young people playing in Sydney or Newcastle.
"We're excited by what jewels we may uncover from our current Youth Academy line-ups," said Mr Gorman.
"At this stage, it is a very real possibility that each Under 20-player in our A-League squad will be a local player.
"This situation is likely to repeat each season, meaning some of our senior Youth Academy squad is quite possibly just two years away from selection in a senior A-League squad."
Press releases, 13, 18 Jun 2007
Benjamin Coonan, Central Coast Mariners Football Club