For the 2019 season, our under 18’s have been bolstered by some fresh faces – most of which were part of our successful under 16 AYL League Championship side of 2018. These players have been merged with several core players from our 2018 under 18 squad as well as several other new recruits. Coach Darren Jones returns to the helm for yet another season and hopes that his enthusiasm will spur his squad onto success in 2019.
2018 in Review – For the South Coast Flame under 18’s, 2018 was a year of learning as all players adapted to the physical nature of the Football NSW State League. A lot was learnt and in the end, the side finished eighth. Highlights of the year included a resilient draw against league winners Central Coast United in a game where our side were extremely depleted with several players having been provided with opportunities in under 20 that weekend. Ethan Lehn and Oscar Mari from the 2018 under 18 squad have been promoted to the 2019 under 20 squad, showcasing our club’s philosophy of promoting youth.
2019 Preseason – Our new look under 18 side have had a very hectic preseason, playing against under 18 sides from NPL3 and State League as well as several Illawarra Premier League under 20 teams. Their preseason matches have been highlighted by wins over Hurstville FC, Wollongong United and Cringila Lions. The majority of the squad are making the step up from junior to senior football and in the process, are playing some attractive football which we look forward to seeing more of this season.
Key Players – With only four players from the 2018 season in this years squad, our under 18’s have made some key additions to the playing roster over the summer. The young side will be relying on captain Jaxon Bussoletti for guidance as the young defender leads the team into the upcoming season. Flamboyant midfielder Joshua Montgomery, will be one to look out for after being named ‘Most Improved’ in 2018. Montgomery will line up alongside young David Au in the midfield who was a standout in last years under 16 AYL side. Along with Bussoletti and Au, we have several other players from our 2018 under 16 team making the step to senior football which include goalkeeper Deakin Southern, Ryan Chard, Fabian Zapata, Jeremy Cornford and Issac Rafferty.
Our under 18’s will be looking for silverware in 2019 and they have shown glimpses of brilliance in preseason. The majority of the team are still transitioning into senior football and are learning about the mental and physical toughness that it comes with however, this team will be one to watch in 2019.
Squad List – Deakin Southern (GK), Riley Nichol (GK), Ryan Chard, Fabian Zapata, Regan Strong, Deakin Brownlee, Jeremy Cornford, Isaac Rafferty, Michael Sitnikoski, Jaxon Bussoletti (C), David Au, Joshua Montgomery, Hugh Callahan, Luke Paull, Jack Scotcher and Nathan Ball.
They open the season on 23 March against Western Condors at McLennan Park with kick off at 3.00pm.
Preview – Jarrod Pollard