AS part of the changing landscape of football in Australia, Sutherland Sharks along with all premier league clubs will take control of their junior representative programs.
Shifting future: Sutherland’s John Klappas (left) with future stars Hayden Morton , Nicholas Olsen, and Michael Neill. Picture: Chris Lane
Sutherland’s treasurer Bruce Lawrence said the move would create a clear pathway for players aspiring to become professional footballers.
“Players would go to Football NSW but now all those programs that were run by them will be run by the clubs,” Lawrence said. “This is great for us.
“We will be able to see the kids a lot earlier and it will be a lot simpler for the kids.”
The changes coincide with a report from Football Federation Australia (FFA) who want to streamline Australia’s junior programs in line with those of the rest of the world.
Sutherland will run programs for players aged from six with a pathway into their premier league team if they are not recrutied by a professional club.
“The benefits are that it will cost a lot less,” Lawrence said. “The biggest benefit though is that a little kid can still stay with his club for a lot longer.”
Programs will be an intense period of 35 weeks, with three sessions a week, starting next month.
“What FFA have found is that Australia doesn’t compete because we don’t train enough compared to the rest of the world,” Lawrence said.
“What I hope is to have more Australian players playing A-League because the standard would be higher.
“Hopefully, we won’t have to recruit overseas players and run it like rugby league who don’t rely on a lot of overseas players for their competition.
“The long-term goal is to have a stronger national side.”
Sutherland Sharks will have a gala day to launch their program at 9am on Sunday at Seymour Shaw Park. Sydney FC and Sutherland Sharks players will attend. There will be FIFA13 gaming tournament and skill sessions.
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