Three titles in one year - a sterling show
STIRLING Lions Soccer Club’s under-15s National Premier League WA (NPL WA) team created history in winning three competitions in 2017 for the first time.
The under-15s were the first in club and junior NPL WA history to win the junior cup, league and top four cup. Lions beat ECU Joondalup 3-0 in the top four cup final on September 24.
Their triple came after winning the under-14 league title in head coach Antony Benetti’s first season at the helm in 2016.
Benetti said the club opted for a different strategy in recruiting and developing juniors compared to other clubs.
“This is definitely the first time for the club and possibly the first time in since the inception of the NPL WA that a club has won the three,” he said.
“We brought in a lot of unknown players that were passed by other clubs. They are a really tight group that have come through now… this year is our year one and last year was our year zero.
“I think getting the reward this year, they were rapt, but it was a relief in a way.”
Benetti said his players were exposed to new environments and skills both on and off the pitch.
“We are really happy that every single player has been offered a position at the club without trialling,” he said. “However, we do have five or six that have actually been offered spots in the under18s team; they will jump up a couple of age levels to play under-18s football.
“They are going to be split up a little bit but they will still be a big part of each other’s success and develop next year despite not being together.”