Last weekend’s final National Youth League round for 2010/11, marked the end of a rollercoaster season for Perth Glory’s crop of young talent.
While there were some great highs and some disappointing lows, the end result was a promising season from the club’s exciting youth footballers.
With a high turn around of players from last year and a much younger group, youth team coach Gareth Naven, was aware of the challenges he was facing with a fresh bunch of teenagers. However, as Naven is quick to point out, his philosophy on the youth system isn’t so much about results as it is about testing their character and improving as players.
Midfielder Cameron Edwards
“The season is always about the player improving in areas of ball mastery, decision making (intelligence) and speed.
“The strength of our team was they never quit, it didn’t matter if we were winning or losing they always responded well and they showed great spirit.
“I would like to congratulate every member of our group this year for their fantastic attitude both on and off the field and the football they played,” Naven said.
Season 2010/11 started out as promising as the last, with a 5-0 thrashing of Melbourne Victory away from home. It wouldn’t be until week 5 that they dropped a game, being caught unawares against the Australian Institute of Sport.
From then on it was a mixture of results, from a hard fought 2-1 win against Adelaide United, to a devastating 3-4 loss to Victory, who had something to prove after the first round, and came from behind to steal the win.
“Our youth team has progressed well grasping our defensive and attacking concepts of the 1-4-3-3.
“We have a group of players that have developed technically, tactically and mentally, even though the results didn’t reflect at times the football the players where producing,” Naven said.
Overall, Naven believes the team reached the goals they set themselves at the beginning of the season and applauded his players for their hard work and dedication to improve their game.
“Collectively as a team we tried to achieve two things: control the opponent or dominate the opponent and from that, either the coaches or the playing group will provide solutions. I commend our players for always trying to do this.
“It’s important to remember that Perth Glory’s youth team is an asset for the club.
We must think about the future and not just tomorrow so our asset has a pathway to our A-League team,” Naven said.
Earlier this week, dynamic duo Dean Evans and Cameron Edwards were announced as Naven’s Most Glorious Youth players for the 2010/11 season, as they tied on 16 points a piece to take out the best and fairest award.
This is a remarkable effort for youth captain Evans especially, as he missed the last 8 weeks with a groin injury and still managed to finish on top of the leader board. It’s a credit to his form throughout the season to take out his second MGP in as many years, having played less football than some of his team mates.
“Congratulations to both Dean and Cameron on being joint winners of the Most Glorious Youth Player award.
“Both are very talented players who have performed for the youth team over the past couple of seasons.
“They’re ambitious players with great desire and dedication and are keen to take the next step into Hyundai A-League,” Naven said.