Stars are born here
FOOTBALL Federation Australia national technical director Eric Abrams sees a place for regional areas like Townsville in contributing to a boosted junior development pathway.
Abrams, a Belgian who coached current English Premier League stars like Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard and Romulu Lukaku during his long tenure as a national coach in Belgium’s junior system, says the regional areas form a key part of the pyramid structure of football in Australia and that all levels must be strong if the desire to see the Socceroos become a world force rings true.
He is the first FFA highlevel official to visit the region since the collapse of the Fury A- League club in 2011 and has won plenty of admirers for his vision for improving player and coach development.
Abrams knuckled down in November last year and has been visiting regional areas around the country to see the challenges and the whole football landscape in Australia.
The Fury have high ambitions of entering the A- League again one day, but first see a spot in the National Youth League and W- League as crucial for providing opportunities to talented kids in regional Queensland, and it’s something that Abrams agrees with.
“That is absolutely important,” he said.
“The National Youth League is changing because of a lot of the owners are not convinced that it’s a good way to develop our players.
“I think it’s a really good way, but it’s very restricted and reduced because there are only nine teams and a Centre of Excellence.
“I think … there is absolutely space to create a bigger NYL competition.
“If we can provide it all over the country then I think we can provide well for the ones with potential and we can provide a competition of maybe 20 or 25 rounds, and that gives us the opportunity and the A-League clubs to make a good space for scouting of these young players.’’
Abrams is in the city for three days and has been watching the under- 12, 13 and under- 14 Queensland Country trials at Brolga Park.