Brisbane Roar’s squad for the upcoming Foxtel National Youth League season has been finalised with Head Coach Jeff Hopkins quietly confident about the players he has at his disposal.
With their first match this coming Saturday, Hopkins’ relatively young squad will see their first bit of competitive action for the 2013/14 campaign against Melbourne Victory at Goodwin Park, Yeronga – where his side will play all nine of their home matches this season.
“We’ve pulled together a very strong squad this year, made up of a lot of players who were here last year and some new recruits from local football, institutes and interstate,” Hopkins said.
“We’ve deliberately gone for younger players this year, we’ve got a one or two into the squad who are in the top age group and we need them really pushing for a first team training place at some stage this year.
“The rest of the boys are between around 16 – 18 and they are players we can work on over a year or 18 months and develop them into A-League players in that time.
“It’s quite an exciting prospect to get them out onto the field on Saturday.”
The former Wales international reiterated the importance of choosing and developing young players that suit the Brisbane Roar’s characteristic style of football with the aim of benefiting the Hyundai A-League squad in the future.
“We’re identifying players not just who are good players but players that can be good Brisbane Roar players,” Hopkins said.
“The youth team this year is not about winning games although I’m sure we will win games.
“It’s about developing individual players to play for Brisbane Roar in the A-League and that’s what it’s all about - personal development comes above winning games 100 per cent.”
After four years with the club’s Westfield W-League team and a season as an Assistant Coach to the Hyundai A-League squad, Hopkins is now in charge of the next generation of Brisbane Roar footballers – a position he is clearly relishing in.
“I’m loving it, I’ve always had a real passion for youth development,” Hopkins said.
“It’s something I really enjoy and I really enjoy watching players develop and move through.”
Hopkins will be supported by long-time Assistant Coach Joel Smith and new addition to the National Youth League coaching staff, former Brisbane Strikers and Newcastle Jets player Kasey Wehrman.
“Joel has been in the position before with John Sime over the past few years so he has a good understanding about what the role is all about,” he said.
“Kasey obviously has a very strong playing history and has a really good knowledge of the game so I’ve got two great confidants to run things by and bounce things off.”
Brisbane Roar Youth v Melbourne Victory Youth
Saturday, 26 October 2013, 2.30pm kick off
Goodwin Park, Yeronga
Brisbane Roar members - FREE
$5 adults, $2 concession/students/under 15s free
Brisbane Roar Foxtel National Youth League 2013/14 squad: Samed ALTUNDAG, Brandon BORRELLO, Shannon BRADY, Fraser CHALMERS (gk), Devante CLUT, Denver CRICKMORE (gk), Sam CRONIN, Mitchell HORE, Jai INGHAM, Lachlan JACKSON, Jordan LAMPARD, Ben LITFIN, Jaiden WALKER, Patrick THEODORE, Kwame YEBOAH