Melbourne City FC’s next generation of stars will commence the Club’s Foxtel Y-League title defence this Saturday, as the team pursues a third youth league title in four seasons.
City will face Brisbane Roar Youth at the City Football Academy on Saturday afternoon from 3.30pm.
Fresh from featuring in the AFC U19 Championships in Vietnam, City’s Young Socceroos stars James Delianov, Ramy Najjarine, Dylan Pierias, Joshua Cavallo, John Roberts and Nathaniel Atkinson headline Joe Palatsides’ 18-player squad for the upcoming 8-match campaign.
Testament to the Club’s retention of emerging youth talent, City has 14 players from its National Premier Leagues program in this year’s Y-League squad, while Najjarine (Western Sydney), Cavallo, Lucas Derrick (Melbourne Victory) and Roberts (Australian Institute of Sport) are four strong additions to Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ side.
Palatsides hopes that City can replicate the form of his youth teams of the past three seasons, having claimed the 2015 and 2017 youth championships, while nurturing the Club’s next generation of players.
“We have assembled a fantastically talented and motivated squad that has been able to play and train together for the majority of the year through our youth system. This has helped them to understand our values, establish a connection with each other and develop a professional attitude and adopt our style of play.
“They have been elevated into our senior squad to either train or play during the pre-season which, is a key measure of the success of our youth team; how many players are elevated into the senior team.
“With the Club having had eight youth representatives in the recent Young Socceroos squad in Vietnam, we are encouraged by the development the players in our system have demonstrated and we hope to further this group into a strong collective and prepare them for the step into professional football.”
The youngest members of the squad, striker Roberts, winger Gianluca Iannucci and defender Mitch Graham, who are all 16, were part of City’s academy side to travel to China in August to contest the inaugural Suning Cup. The trio helped City to a third-placed finish, with Roberts winning the competition’s Golden Boot with nine goals in four matches, while Graham scored a memorable goal against Inter Milan’s youth team.
The likes of more experience players such as Yaren Sozer, Connor Metcalfe, Dylan Pierias and Nathanial Atkinson have trained with Warren Joyce’s A-League side during the pre-season, earning important senior experience.
Palatsides, in his sixth consecutive year at the helm of the Club’s national youth outfit, will lead City into Conference A as reigning Y-League champions after clinching the 2017 Y-League title in January.
City will challenge Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar FC, Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory twice – home and away – with the top team from Conference A challenging the winner of Conference B, which will consist of New South Wales-based sides Western Sydney, Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners, alongside Canberra United – who will represent the nation’s capital for the first time.
You can see all of Melbourne City’s National Youth League, Westfield W-League and A-League matches this season as a Melbourne City member. Click here to sign up as a member today!
Melbourne City FC Foxtel Y-League Squad: Nathanial Atkinson, Zac Bates, Joshua Cavallo, James Delianov, Marko Delic, Lucas Derrick, Aidan Farquhar, Mitchell Graham, Gianluca Iannucci, Anthony Lesiotis, Jaiden Madafferri, Connor Metcalfe, Yasin Nur, Dylan Pierias, Lucas Portelli, John Roberts, Yaren Sozer, Gerrie Sylaidos