Shepparton News - - SPORT - By OLIVER CAF­FREY

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.’’

Pic­ture: Oliver Caf­frey

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.

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