The NIAS soccer program got the ball rolling in Armidale on Sunday as new head coach Welington Sardinha took the reins for the first time at the Doody Park trials.
The new coach moved from Brazil in 2009, and has brought with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from the football mad nation.
While only eleven potential players were available to trial on the day, Sardinha and Assistant coach Adam Ramage are planning to have a squad of around 15 for the 2017 program.
Both coaches believe that the region has produced enough top class talent to form a formidable and well balanced squad for the 2017 program.
“We have players to fill all positions and so far it looks like being a well balanced team,” Sardinha said.
“There are still a few others to come in as well that couldn’t make the trial.”
The program will consist of six training sessions, including two two day overnight camps, with dates yet to be announced.
The squad will also embark on a Sydney trip, taking a page out of the succesful basketball program with a trip to Newington College early next year.
“We are really looking forward to the Sydney trip,” Sardinha said. “There will be a lot of focus on growth and hopefully we can set up the dates so we can all go to an A-League match.”
“We want to show the boys what it takes to step up to the next levels.”
While it is still early days the head coach knows exactly what he wants to address in order to improve his squad both on and off the field, and prepare them for future representative duties.
“Technique, intelligence, physical attributes, skills and endurance,” Sardinha said.
“They will be the basics of the program and will help the boys take the next step.”
Two Glen Innes sportsman, Liam Muckenschnabel and Konnor Ferris, came to Armidale last Sunday to try out. Liam was chosen to represent in NIAS’ male football [soccer] squad last year and is hoping for the same outcome this time around.
He was the first Glen Innes player to make it through in 2015.
“This is my second time doing them,” Liam said.
“They’re mostly about scouting kids to go train with NIAS.
“You pretty much train to see if you can make it to Sydney and then after we do a couple of training sessions and play some matches around Tamworth and Gunnedah we normally go up to Sydney.”
You pretty much train to see if you can make it to Sydney.Liam Muckenschnabel
The two Glen Innes boys now play the waiting game before finding out whether they made the squad, hopefully before the end of the year.
- Photos, page 29