Former Victory skipper headlines new-look Heart youth squad
Melbourne Heart have revealed its 2013/14 National Youth League (NYL) squad, including last season's Melbourne Victory youth captain Luke O'Dea.
Head coach Joe Palatsides, who enters his second season as NYL coach at Melbourne Heart, has retained eight players from last season’s squad, while adding six new players, including former Australian Under 17 representative Hernan Espindola (Pascoe Vale), Luke O’Dea (Bentleigh Greens), Marcus Schroen (Den Bosch, Netherlands), Ross Archibald (Brisbane Roar), Alex Dao (FC Bulleen Lions) and Slavisa Saric (Oakleigh Cannons).
Stipo Andrijasevic, Alastair Bray, Ersin Kaya, Chris Maynard, Andrew Mullett, Phil Petreski, Paul Retre, Marko Stevanja and Andrew Cartanos remain from last season’s squad - while Jeremy Walker, Stefan Mauk and Sam Mitchinson all graduated to the Hyundai A-League after signing professional contracts.
“We started our recruitment drive quite early and all the coaching staff watched a lot of state league football, visited a number of regional areas and identified a lot of young players”, Palatsides said.
“Most of the players we selected worked with the A-League team at some point during the pre-season to ensure we could see how they adapted to that environment and to give them a taste of professional football.
“The measure of the youth team is how many players are elevated to a senior contract. We handed three professional contracts to members of last season’s squad, which was a great outcome and underlines the importance of this group we are putting together.”
Players born between the years 1993 and 1997 are eligible for the NYL team and all players are registered as amateur players. The Club has scope to add a further two players to the squad, to take the total to the maximum allowed of 16 players.
Melbourne Heart’s NYL campaign commences with an away fixture against Perth Glory at Intiga Stadium on Saturday 26 October.
Melbourne Heart FC Foxtel National Youth League Squad:
Alastair BRAY, Chris MAYNARD, Ross ARCHIBALD, Andrew MULLETT, Slavisa SARIC, Phil PETRESKI, Ersin KAYA, Paulo RETRE, Alex DAO, Marcus SCHROEN, Andrew CARTANOS, Stipo ANDRIJASEVIC, Luke O’DEA, Hernan ESPINDOLA, Marko STEVANJA (NYL Replacement Player)