2022 Junior Men’s National Championships Day Five – Australian Champions from Queensland and New South Wales

After five days of elite youth football, Queensland and New South Wales have been crowned national youth champions in the land of Gumbaynggirr.

The matches were played in unfavorable conditions of rain and wind with excellent displays of courage, determination and poise.

grand finale 14s
The early stages of the 14s final were evenly contested with limited scoring opportunities. QLD’s Rafael Texeira Issa Costa broke the deadlock, scoring a penalty, despite the best efforts of WA goalkeeper Jim Collins.

Going into the second half, QLD seemed to be in control until Aiden Rawlins leveled the score at 1-1.

With the rain pouring down the sides, the tension high and everything to play for, the referee whistled for the final 1-1.

Both sides traded sanctions under extreme pressure that escalated further to sudden death. When WA’s Hudson Burn pushed a QLD high they were confirmed kings of the nation.

QLD captain Rhys Williams praised his coaches for the win, describing his penalty shootout secret as “taking a deep breath, looking where you’re going and hoping for the best.

grand finale of 15
The 15s final was a painful affair. An expected encounter every time NSW plays QLD. The boys in blue went on the attack in the opening minutes when Oliver Steinerts headed in an expertly executed corner.

Junior Conde was effective throughout and NSW’s aggressive stance suffocated Queenslanders. Midway through the second legislature, Conde put his team up 2-0 with a resounding penalty. Noah Mathie then put it out of the question as NSW ran into the arms of their elated teammates on the bench.

When Agazio Fragomeli was sent off the field with a second yellow card, Rylan Brownlie put the score back at 3-1, but time was not on the side of a plucky QLD side undefeated until the grand final.

Football NSW’s path to the final of 15 was fueled by a renewed commitment to understanding their players on an individual level. Head coach Warren Grieve explains: “We’re trying to better understand the players as individuals. Understand what motivates them, how they really work, how they work on and off the field.”

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“The way the team has been run has been absolutely exceptional by the coaching staff and that’s what allowed us to pick the champion team,” Grieve said.

Julian Recchia and Harry Crawford Players of the Championships
Julian Recchia from Victoria (14 years old) and Harry Crawford from South Australia (15 years old) have been named players of the championships.

The diminutive and speedy Recchia, from the city of Melbourne, had a magnificent championship with nine points ahead of the next best player.

Harry Crawford was universally praised by managers for his national performances. He has confirmed his ambitions to play football professionally saying: “I want to take my career abroad and play in Europe.”

Football Australia’s Oscar Gonzalez believes the selection of Recchia and Crawford sends a positive message about the purpose of the National Junior Championships. “You may not be the end, but it’s about what people have seen consistently throughout the week. We have analyzed 1,500 reports, submitted by state coaches, evaluating a variety of key performance factors to reach our decision.”

Additional honors were presented to the referees and guardians of the championships.

Tournament Referee.

  • U14 Referee of the Tournament, Thomas Brinkworth (South Australian Football)
  • U-15 Referee of the Tournament, Jock Quartermain (Football Victoria)

Tournament Goalkeeper.

  • U-14 Goalkeeper of the Tournament, Noah Ellul (South Australia Red)
  • U-15 Goalkeeper of the Tournament, Daniel Graskowski (Victoria Blue)

Junior National Championships a success after pandemic break
After two years of cancellations due to COVID-19, the championships have returned as a success. Players, coaches and referees have all benefited and enjoyed the opportunity to compete and progress on their football journeys.

As former Socceroo Josh Kennedy explains, “The Nationals are an integral part of the players’ journeys and development. It’s a chance for them to be away from home, spend the week at camp in a high-pressure environment and bond with their teammates or coaches. There is development on and off the pitch. It gives them an idea of ​​what a professional player experiences on tour when he plays for a national team, so it’s an important part of his journey.”

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Talent identification doesn’t stop at Coffs Harbor
Football Australia’s talent identification process continues beyond the National Youth Championships.

Oscar González explains: “We will clean, analyze and find information within the data of our championships and we will inform the technical directors of the member federations to receive comments. These reports then feed into Joey’s leadership for the next pick cycle.”

When pressed about the message to the players, González revealed: “If you worked hard at nationals, you will be identified, but this is not the only capture point. The member federations are doing elite games in all their states, they are also doing school events.”

The official development of the match is a priority
Kate Jacewicz, a FIFA and A-Leagues referee, has been involved in referee development at championships and is impressed by what she has witnessed.

“There is a change in the engagement levels of this younger generation. They are more dedicated match officials rather than players who duplicate themselves at home in their member associations. This is a great development path in the next five to 10 years and as a result the standard of arbitration will rise again,” said Jacewicz.

Referee Charlie O’Bryan, from Northern NSW Football, enjoyed the tournaments and said: “It’s been interesting to see the focus on us and the players. It has been good to come to a national tournament, train every day, report every day, recover every day”.

He hopes to implement the learnings at his local NPL competition. “I have walked away with coaching points, tips and strategies. Things like positioning and managing team tactics to understand and change my positioning around styles of play,” O’Bryan said.

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