A Melbourne City select U16 team will take part in the inaugural Suning Cup Youth Tournament in Nanjing this week.
- Trip of a lifetime for Tristan Patsiotis, player mascot for Melbourne Heart in 2010, travelling to Asia with Melbourne City in 2017
- U16 teams taking on Inter Milan, RSC Anderlecht and FC Koln
The youth tournament, held at the world-class Jiangning Football Training base in Nanjing, will see the Club’s most promising Academy players challenge youth teams from Inter Milan, Belgian top flight side RSC Anderlecht, Serbia's Red Star Belgrade and German Bundesliga club F.C Koln. The Academy Team arrived in China on Tuesday.
One of the young players taking part in the tournament is 16-year-old Tristan Patsiotis. Tristan’s first interaction with Melbourne City was in July 2010 when he walked out at the Etihad Stadium as a player mascot as an 8-year-old, for a friendly game against an Everton squad that included Tim Cahill.
PIC: Tristian Patsiotis (right), with Mitch Graham (left) and Tarek Dehrib (centre)
Seven years since that match, where he entered the field of play as a starry-eyed fan, Tristan, now a teenager, has earned a contract with City’s development squad and regularly passes Cahill in the corridors of the City Football Academy.
“I remember walking out onto the pitch with Michael Beauchamp and it was quite an overwhelming and exciting experience, with the fans in the stadium chanting the player’s names. I knew at that point that I would love to become a professional player and have that experience myself,” Patsiotis said.
“It says a lot about the Club’s development that we have been invited to play in a tournament like this. The competition looks really strong, and the whole experience of travelling overseas to play in a tournament is a dream come true for me.”
Patsiotis is also a member of Patrick Kisnorbo’s U20 development team that clinched the Eastern Conference Championship just two weeks ago.
PIC: Tristan Patsiotis trains at the Jiangning Football Training Base in Nanjing.
Under the guidance of Palatsides, the squad consists of 20 talented 15 and 16-year-olds, including recent scholarship signing John Roberts and Australian U-17 internationals Giovanni Stellitano, Luke Duzel, Nick Theodosiou and Dalibor Markovic.
Palatsides said: “The Suning Cup is a unique opportunity for our young players to learn and challenge themselves. Playing against academy sides from some of the biggest clubs in Europe and Asia provides special opportunities for player development. We also excited about exposing our players to a new culture, which is an important step in their development as athletes and young leaders.”
PIC: Joe Palatsides (second from right) representing Melbourne City at the Suning Cup opening press conference.
Melbourne City FC Academy Squad for Suning Cup: Ahmad TALEB (GK), Liam KENNEDY (GK), Kyle McGEACHY, Mitchell GRAHAM, Jesse MATTHEWS, Tarek DEHRIB, Aisen ISHAK, Ben PIERIAS, Declan CROUCHER, Dalibor MARKOVIC, Nick THEODOSIOU, Luke DUZEL, Tristan PATSIOTIS, Joshua VARGA, John ROBERTS, Giovanni STELLITANO, Jordan BOS, Denis MENELAOU, Billy SKLIROS, Gianluca IANNUCCI
About the Suning Cup
The inaugural Suning Cup tournament is organised and sponsored by Jiangsu Suning Football Club, Jiangsu Province FA and Jiangsu Province Education Department, and will be held from 15 August to 21 August 2017 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.
The eight participating teams will consist of players born in 2001-2002, with each team training and competing in venues based at the Jiangning Football Training Base in Nanjing.