Youth Critical To Heart Future

Melbourne Heart FC’s General Manager, Football Operations John Didulica has emphasised the importance of promoting youth in building a competitive Hyundai A-League squad.

Melbourne Heart FC-s General Manager, Football Operations John Didulica has emphasised the importance of promoting youth in building a competitive Hyundai A-League squad.

Heart-s debut season has been characterised by the emergence of fresh talent, including Victorian Premier League graduates Adrian Zahra and Nick Kalmar, as well as Aziz Behich, who have all featured as regular members of the Club-s starting eleven.

Fellow VPL alumni Kliment Taseski has also made an impact in his debut campaign as a professional, earning recognition for his maturity in being named to Heart-s leadership group.

In addition to Heart-s litany of ex-VPL stars, the Club has also handed debuts to Brendan Hamill and Eli Babalj, with the former Australian Institute of Sport athletes featuring prominently in the Club-s inaugural campaign.

Looking to the future, Didulica believes Heart-s future growth is likely to be determined by the continued development of these rising stars.

Didulica said the Club-s technical staff have a staunch conviction in the importance of emerging talent, with Head Coach John van ‘t Schip possessing a formidable track record in youth development.

Van ‘t Schip played a pivotal role in the growth of many of the current crop of Dutch internationals while at Ajax Amsterdam, including superstars Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder.

Didulica said: “John van ‘t Schip has always said, the real growth you get in a football club is improvement in young players.

"And in Adrian Zahra, Aziz Behich and Nick Kalmar we-ve got that. They-ve been exceptional. And don-t forget Eli Babalj and Brendan Hamill both who-ve just turned 18.”

Heart-s youth orientated focus is set to continue in coming weeks as the Club kicks-off its National Youth League trials at the La Trobe University Sports Fields in Bundoora.

The Club is staging a series of open trials in the hope of uncovering a star of the future, providing a chance for youngsters otherwise overlooked by established talent identification networks.