Walking the Football Pathway

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Named player of the match for Manly United’s under 16 boy’s youth league team (BYL) in last Saturday’s game, Ryan Osbourne finds himself here after walking the Northern Beaches football pathway.

Ryan’s love for the round ball game all started back in 2012 when he joined Beacon Hill Football Club to play with his older brother. After five years there Ryan decided to make the move to Harbord Football Club to play with some mates, joining his own age division for the first time in 2018.

Thereafter he moved to St Augustine’s under the watchful eye of coach Chris Gray before deciding to take the leap and try out for the Manly Warringah Association Youth League (AYL) team for the 2022 season.

Having coached Ryan for four years Gray was confident that Ryan had what it took to be selected in the side.

“Ryan is a natural athlete, well balanced, deceptively quick and moves well with and without the ball. Plus, he has a great attitude” Gray said about his former player.

“He gives 100% at training and when he plays and would score some sensational goals throughout the season that only got better each year.”

When the idea to trial for the Manly Warringah AYL under 16’s team was mentioned to Ryan, Gray said it wasn’t an easy choice for him at first.

“It was a challenge for him because he loved playing football with his mates at Saints, but you never know unless you give it a go.”

After some consideration Ryan decided to trial for the AYL team.

“I decided last year that I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could go to the next level, that was the first time I had ever trialled” Ryan said.

“I was very excited and proud of myself to be selected.”

Swapping his St Augustine’s jersey for a Manly Warringah AYL jersey he joined Jonathon Currulli’s under 16’s AYL team.

“From the moment we identified Ryan in preseason, it was clear to see his raw talent from both a technical and physical standpoint” Currulli said.

“His aggressiveness in 1v1 attacking situations, outstanding dribbling technique and ability to finish with both power and finesse, certainly caught the eye.”

As Ryan continued to train and play for his AYL team it was apparent to his coaches, teammates, and spectators that Ryan’s footballing ability was improving rapidly.

“The AYL program provided Ryan the opportunity to refine his skillset in a quality, nurturing environment” Currulli said.

“Emphasis was placed not just on technical improvement, but also on providing him with the confidence, tactical knowledge and psychological facets required to develop at a faster rate and seamlessly transition into the next level.”

As Ryan continued to develop his skills and his confidence began to grow it was only a matter of time before he was offered to take the next step in the football pathway and join the Manly United boys youth league under 16’s team.

“I really enjoyed playing with the AYL Team but getting the call to move up to the BYL’s was a big achievement and is giving me even greater opportunities to develop as a player” Ryan said.

A proud coach, Currulli was thrilled to see Ryan offered the opportunity to move up the ranks and continue his football career especially after Ryan’s dedication and commitment to the sport.

“As a coach in the youth context, there’s nothing better. Especially with the goal being not just to produce the best players, but ultimately the best people we possibly can.

“Ryan is certainly a testament to this from both a playing and character standpoint” Currulli said.

Ryan has now grabbed the opportunity with both hands and is giving it his all. Having played consistent minutes in the under 16’s team, being named player of the match and even being asked to step up and help the under 18’s when needed.

“I am enjoying playing with this group of boys as they challenge me to do my best, and I also enjoy the competition as the teams we are versing are always very good quality and tough to beat” Ryan said.

Manly United’s technical director, Sam Gallagher, has also witnessed Ryan’s hard work and proud to see him progress through the pathway.

“It’s great to see how the pathway for players in the MWFA can be accessed at different ages and in different ways. A real credit to the MWFA clubs for continuing to develop and support players looking to progress to the next level” Gallagher said.

“Ryan’s journey highlights all 3 levels of the football pathway working together to help the individual and allow movement from one to the other to cater to what the player needs at the right time.

“The reason so many talented players have come out of the Northern Beaches is down to the hard work and dedication from grassroot clubs to help develop players and push them on to the next level when they feel they are ready.

“The other side of the coin is how hard Ryan has worked to achieve his goals, so I congratulate him on his efforts and look forward to seeing him progress throughout the remainder of the season.”

From grassroots football with the MWFA to the association youth league and now playing for Manly United’s boy’s youth league, Ryan Osbourne is a true representation of what the MWFA and Manly United football pathway is all about and we cannot wait to see what Ryan does next.


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