Young At Heart

Melbourne Heart FC’s commitment to youth has without question been one of the defining aspects of the Club's identity.

Melbourne Heart FC-s commitment to youth has without question been one of the defining aspects of the Club's identity.

With Head Coach John van ‘t Schip boasting a substantial record developing elite talent, including the likes of Dutch superstars Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart, Heart is well placed to emerge as the home of Australia-s generation next.

And in the quartet of Aziz Behich, Eli Babalj, Brendan Hamill and Jason Hoffman, who have each signed a contract extension to remain at the Club until 2013 at the earliest, Heart boasts a core of youth internationals with the potential to take the next step and make their mark abroad.

But before entertaining any visions of international success, Hamill has declared a title with Heart his primary ambition, saying he wishes to enjoy success with the Club-s current crop of youngsters.

“We're all young and going through the same things in life, it would be a good thing to win the title and be successful together,” Hamill said.

“We're all very happy to be here at the club and the professionalism and the environment that the club has is second to none.”

Babalj is another with his feet firmly planted on the ground.

Despite possessing limitless potential, the 19-year-old says he hopes to repay Heart-s faith in him with success in the short term.

"From day one they've treated me well and they're willing to help me progress and move on to bigger and better things but first I have to pay back the club and achieve our goals," Babalj said.

While Babalj, Behich, Hamill and Hoffman were each keenly sought after, an overriding theme emerged as a reason for remaining in Melbourne.

Hoffman, who has fast developed a clear affection for his adopted city, said Heart-s all-inclusive culture makes it an ideal home.

“As soon as I moved from Newcastle to Melbourne, I fell in love with the city and the club and the people involved with Melbourne Heart”" Hoffman said.