NEW-LOOK McEWEN RESERVE TO HOST AUSTRALIA’S UNDER-19 ASIAN CUP QUALIFICATION BID
Shepparton will get a look at Australia’s best young soccer players in November.
In a major coup for the region, the newly upgraded McEwen Reserve will host qualifying matches for next year’s under-19 Asian Cup in Indonesia.
The Young Socceroos are grouped with Hong Kong, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Northern Mariana Islands during the five-day qualifying tournament.
Socceroos coach Ufuk Talay was in Shepparton yesterday to help launch the event, which will run from November 4 to 8.
Talay said he could not be more excited to be able to coach the matches in Shepparton.
‘‘It’s actually the first time we’ve had AFC under-19 qualifications in Australia,’’ Talay said.
‘‘We very rarely get the opportunity to play in our own backyard in front of our own fans, so everyone involved is looking forward to it.
‘‘If we do well here, we’ll go to the under-19 Asian Cup and then hopefully qualify for the World Cup and we have to finish in the top four for Asia to do that.’’
Talay was appointed coach of the Young Socceroos last year after a 20-year professional career where he played in the A-League with Sydney FC and North Queensland Fury, along with a stint at Turkish giant Galatasaray.
He has a connection to the Goulburn Valley, living for a short time in Kyabram as a child.
Talay said there would be a number of Victorian players in line for selection, with the 23-man squad to be announced in October.
The Socceroos need to top Group J to progress to the Asian Cup.
‘‘We’ll have a camp based in Melbourne for a week before coming to Shepparton,’’ Talay said.
‘‘We always want to qualify for the World Cup and win things, but it’s more about developing players who can go onto play for the under-23 team and hopefully for the senior Socceroos.’’
Victorian Major Events Minister John Eren and Greater Shepparton Mayor Dinny Adem were buzzing with excitement yesterday at the prospect of the Young Socceroos coming to town.
‘‘We’re giving the next generation of Socceroos their chance to shine on the world stage right here in Shepparton,’’ Eren said.
‘‘Securing this world-class football means serious business for Shepparton — attracting visitors, creating jobs and boosting the local economy.’’
Young Socceroos are coming: Young Socceroos coach Ufuk Talay, Victorian Major Events Minister John Eren and Greater Shepparton Mayor Dinny Adem launched the under-19 Asian Cup qualifiers yesterday, which will be at McEwen Reserve in November.