The four Queensland state boys teams played in their last matches today on the final day of the FFA National Youth Championships for Boys in Coffs Harbour.
Queensland’s Under 13 and Under 14 Country and Metro teams competed across five days against teams from other Member Federations and Hyundai A-League Academies, including two Brisbane Roar FC sides.
A total of 36 teams from around Australia travelled to participate in the week-long national tournament, held at C.ex Coffs International Stadium.
Six young Queensland match officials from across the state also attended to officiate at the tournament, developing their skills and gaining experience under the guidance of a number of referee instructors.
The four Queensland boys teams recorded mixed results throughout the week as they came up against their peers from across the state, however a key focus of the tournament was on the development opportunities for the players.
Under 13 Country coach Jamie Pybus said his players had some vital learning and development experiences both on and off the field throughout the week, especially after a number of players suffered injuries.
“We’ve had some great tests, we’ve had some fantastic learning moments and that’s what this week is all about; the boys from all over regional Queensland coming to test themselves against the best Under 13 players in Australia,” Pybus said.
“The bonds they make and the friendships they make, and how you conduct yourself off the field as a group and the recovery, it’s all part of the learning process, so there have been some fantastic experiences for the boys.”
One highlight of the week for the Under 13 Metro side was their Day One victory against their tough opposition from New South Wales, however coach Martin Docherty said his players enjoyed the whole week.
“We were quite resolute in defence and made sure that with the one and only opportunity we got, that we scored from it, so I was really happy with the performance against New South Wales,” Docherty said.
“The boys have been pretty honest and realistic on what their ambitions were prior to the tournament, and I think they took the experience with both hands and really enjoyed it.
“Tournaments like this can only benefit players for the future because effectively it’s the best against the best, and that includes coaches as well.”
Under 14 Country coach Anthony Alexander highlighted the importance of tournaments like these for all young players, but especially for those from regional areas.
“The boys set their own expectations earlier in the week and in review of those, they’ve exceeded their own expectations and probably those of others, and they’ve had many great performance this week,” Alexander said.
“I think the experience for regional players attending tournaments like this is priceless. They don’t get the opportunity as the metro kids do to play high-level opposition week in, week out, so these groups are massive tests and steps forward in their development.”
The Queensland Under 14 Country side ended their campaign with a win against Capital Football, while one of the best results of the week for the Under 14 Metro side came yesterday with a 5-0 victory against NSW Country.
Brisbane Roar Academy also competed in the week-long tournament and were crowned Hyundai A-League Academy National Champions in the Under 13 age group, while Under 14 Brisbane Roar Academy goalkeeper Lachlan Duke was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament in his age group.
Congratulations to all players, coaches and match officials who participated.
Images: Northern NSW Football