The Manly Warringah Football Association and Manly United player pathway received a huge boost recently with seven (7) local players taking the field in Sydney FCs National Youth League Grand Final win over Melbourne Victory.
Levi Kaye (Pittwater RSL), Thomas Fay (Wakehurst), Calem Nieuwenhof (Curl Curl), Jake Holman (Wakehurst), Patrick Wood (CC Strikers), Ben Koop (Forest Killarney) and Aaron Gurd (Wakehurst) all played their part in Sydney FCs 5-1 victory at Kogarah.
Jake Holman and Ben Koop also found the back of the net to round out a brilliant day for football on the Northern Beaches.
Adding further kudos for the MWFA and Manly United is the fact that Harry van der Saag (CC Strikers) didnt play because he was on the bench for the Hyundai A-League team and Cameron Peupion (Wakehurst) missed the game as he was in England.
All in all, nine local boys were part of the squad, coached by for Manly United coach and CC Strikers player Jimmy Van Weeren.
Former Manly United juniors George Blackwood, Lachlan Wales, Patrick Flottman, Lewis Miller and Gianni Stensness are also establishing careers in the A-League while a further 16 players are in the Sydney FC Youth League teams, which play against Manly United in the Boys Youth League.
The NYL Grand Final victory was a high end illustration of the pathway the MWFA and Manly United has created for all players in the area, based on five key pillars:
- A healthy and strong relationship between MWFA and Manly United
- A commitment, through the CCC Program, to help improve coaching at club level
- A high quality talented player program at Manly United
- A strong relationship between Sydney FC, Manly United and the MWFA
- A clear understanding that collectively we will always encourage players to play at the highest level they possibly can and trust that the structure at the MWFA and Manly United will see these boys return to the club when their journey at the higher level comes to an end, whether that is to Manly United or back to their grass roots MWFA club.
This is something we should all be proud of as it shows we all play an important part in putting together a structure that gives talented football players the opportunity to be the best they can possibly be, said MWFA and Manly United CEO David Mason.
Our coaching at the 17 grassroots clubs has improved dramatically, which feeds into the Manly United and MWFA representative teams but we are now seeing more consistent results of players moving beyond Manly United.
Our collective goal as a sport on the Northern Beaches should be to foster an environment where talented players can improve, move forward and happily return to their clubs, whether that be Manly United or one of the 17 clubs.
Congratulations to the boys but also a well deserved pat on the back for the clubs and the environment we have created on the Northern Beaches.