Youth in Focus: Josh Cavallo

With a number of City’s youngsters getting their chance to burst onto the scene this season, the eyes of the Australian Football are firmly set on Bundoora to see who will be the next prodigy to break into the A-League, and one player that has attracted a significant amount of attention is 18-year-old Josh Cavallo.

A central midfielder, Cavallo has played a major role in City’s Y-League season thus far, finding the back of the net in City’s 9-2 demolition of the Melbourne Victory in Round 3 of the season.

Cavallo was also one of seven City Youth selected as a part of the Young Socceroos squad for recent AFC U19 Championship Qualifiers, representing Australia in Vietnam alongside teammates James Delianov, Dylan Pierias, Ramy Najjarine, Daniel Arzani, Denis Genreau and Nathaniel Atkinson.

Looking back, Cavallo was glad to have had the opportunity to represent his country and play alongside the best junior talent in Australia:

“It was a great opportunity, a great experience, to go away with the national team,” he said

“It was great to see what out level of quality was compared to other players from around the world in our age group so I thought it was a really great experience”

A graduate of the FFV’s NTC program, Cavallo began his professional career as a part of Victory’s youth setup, but found himself unable to settle.

Cavallo would sign on with City in an attempt to kickstart his development, and would quickly blossom into one of Australian football’s best prospects in the middle of Head of Academy Joe Palatsides’ midfield.

Reflecting on his move, Cavallo is glad he made the switch:

“It’s another level, compared to Victory,” Cavallo said.

“Obviously I wasn’t getting as much out of it as I wanted to there so I thought it was a great opportunity to come here and it’s been a great move for me.

“There’s been no downsides to me moving really, everything that has happened to me has been great. The coaches have been great towards me, developing me and improving me since day one.

“There’s been a few things that I’ve needed to improve on – whether that was skin folds or my positioning on the field – and they’ve helped me with that.

“Every staff member has helped me along the way, and I really appreciate that.”

As if summoned, it was at this point that the interview with Cavallo was gate-crashed by current City W-League Head Coach and former Youth Coach Paddy Kisnorbo, with Kisnorbo playfully roasting Cavallo by offering to find an actual football player for an interview.

Laughing at the banter, Cavallo spoke highly of the staff at the CFA:

“We’re very close,” Cavallo said of Kisnorbo.

“He’s a great bloke, he tells it to you how it is, he doesn’t beat around the bush and hide what he’s thinking and that’s what I really like in a coach.

“To me, Pala [Joe Palatsides] is one of the best coaches I’ve ever come across.

“He’s great at developing players, him and Lachy [City Y-League Assistant Coach Lachlan Armstrong], and they’ve been really good to me in welcoming me into the club and taking me under their wing.

Cavallo, like the rest of City’s Y-League players, has also had the opportunity to train under A-League Head Coach Warren Joyce, both with the senior side and in Y-League sessions taken by Joyce, and Cavallo is grateful for the opportunity:

“With Warren, it’s been great to be taught by him and being taken under his wing as well,

“He’s been telling me about his youth base back in Manchester [United] and been teaching us the things that they did over there so that’s great.”

And for City fans looking forward to seeing Cavallo playing with City’s seniors, Cavallo offers a tantalising insight into who he has tried to model his game on and what type of player City fans can hope to see:

“I love to look forward, to play through and assist people get goals. It was Stevie Gerrard that I used to watch back in the day, I’ve been told that I play like him, and I’ve been looking up to him for a very long time.”

Cavallo and his Y-League teammates will continue their preparations for the Y-League Grand Final on Saturday 3 February as they face Western Sydney at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, kick-off 2pm.