Youth in Focus: FNYL team enjoying adventurous start

Melbourne Heart FC’s Foxtel National Youth League team is enjoying an adventurous start to its 2013-14 campaign, with coach Joe Palatsides delighted with the side’s progress in the opening four rounds.

Melbourne Heart FC-s Foxtel National Youth League team is enjoying an adventurous start to its 2013-14 campaign, with coach Joe Palatsides delighted with the side-s progress in the opening four rounds.

Despite kicking its season off with four away matches, Heart has captured seven points, with wins against Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar and, most recently, a 1-1 draw against a full-strength Australian Institute of Sport.

Importantly, the squad has already yielded its first Hyundai A-League player, will midfielder Paulo Retre having featured in club-s last three A-League matches.

“The draw hasn-t been kind, but the boys have worked really hard in the short space of time we-ve been together and are embracing the on-field and off-field expectations we have set,” Palatsides said.

“Our intention is not to drop too many senior contracted players or over-age players down into the youth league. This ensures all of our NYL players and the development players that we have training within the NYL team will get an excellent opportunity.

While results remain an important objective in the FNYL, Palatsides recognises the need for grooming the next generation of young players and exposing them to the rigours of professional football with the youth team.

“Development and opportunity is a key part of what we-re trying to achieve with these players and so far we are happy with the improvement that we have seen.”

“In addition to all the NYL players who have been involved - I think we-ve had six or seven development players make appearances so far - so it has been a great experience for them.

“You just see them grow in confidence every day and that-s what we want; we want our players to improve as we go along and hopefully accelerate their development as quickly as possible.”

Palatsides was recently joined by Kimon Taliadoros, a former Socceroo and star of the National Soccer League, as the team-s assistant coach - an appointment which Palatsides hopes will contribute to the development process.

“Kimon is great asset for the players and I for a number of reasons.”

“Firstly he has fantastic football knowledge and is well along the way to finishing all of his licenses. Secondly, he is a highly-intelligent guy who has a great understanding and knowledge of the challenges of life as a footballer, particularly away from training,” Palatsides said.

“Most of these guys are still teenagers trying to find their feet and juggling football with school and work, which is an area that Kimon can provide excellent advice is.”

Taliadoros is currently relishing the role alongside Palatsides, and emphasises the pair have a similar view on football.

“I have great respect for the Melbourne Heart culture and particularly their commitment to promoting players from the youth team into its A-League team, so the opportunity to join Joe was wonderful for me and I am enjoying my time here,” Taliadoros said.

In addition to Taliadoros, Davy van-t Schip- son of the Club-s inaugural Head Coach, John- joins the team as the team-s fitness and conditioning coach, continuing the family connection that started at the club-s inception.

“They-re all great people to have at the club and good people breed a good atmosphere - and I think the players are benefiting from that,” Palatsides said.

Melbourne Heart FC's next Foxtel National Youth League match is on Saturday 23 November against Western Sydney Wanderers at Marconi Stadium from 3pm.