It is a new-look U/20 squad for the South Coast Flame in 2019, with seven new recruits. The team will once again be lead by 2018 Coach and new technical director Neil Mineeff, whose passion for the game hopefully will translate into success for the team in 2019. Mineeff is joined by Assistant Coach Michael Panozzo and Manager Paul Morgan.
In terms of results, our U/20 side was the Flame’s best performing squad in 2018 – experiencing just one loss at home all season to eventual league champions Nepean FC. The side turned John Crehan Park into a happy hunting ground, claiming plenty of big scalps. However, the season ended in heartbreak when their final game of the season finished 1-1, where a win would’ve seen them play finals football.
The side finished in sixth and just two points behind Hurstville City Minotaurs – who were the team that ended our finals ambitions on the last day of the regular season.
Season highlights include a 2-0 win against UNSW to celebrate their first home game, along with a 2-1 win in the following fixture against Bankstown United – who have recently been promoted to NPL3.
Striker Johnny Vicoroski picked up the Golden Boot Award for the 2018 season, scoring 20 goals in just 18 appearances – five more than the next in line. Vicoroski’s performance in 2018 earned himself a promotion to our First Grade squad for 2019, along with Daniel Lucas and Jayden Smileski.
For the majority of the 2019 pre-season, results have been positive for our U/20 side. The team has chalked up five wins over the summer, keeping four clean sheets and scoring 16 goals. Form has been positive for the majority of time over the course of pre-season, however the side is not fully polished at this point of time.
Mineeff’s men have taken their work ethic to the next level – training several times a week on top of a game or even two during the week. The schedule has been very hectic, however it is preparing the side nicely for an exciting season ahead. A never say die attitude has been instilled by Mineeff into the squad, which you could see on the pitch in 2018 as well as this pre-season – which makes this team one to be wary of.
There have been 10 new additions to the squad which narrowly missed out on finals football last season. New goalkeeper Mohamed Krishban brings a high level of energy to the squad, and has pulled off some terrific saves over pre-season – keeping four clean sheets.
Exciting young talent Preston Ridley has shown how dangerous he can be over the pre-season. The 16 year-old has taken the massive leap from our U/16’s squad last season straight into our U/20’s squad for 2019 and has proven his worth during the pre-season games.
Ethan Lehn and Oscar Mari have been promoted from our 2018 U/18 squad and are eager to prove themselves in the higher age group – whilst Sebastian Arancibia and Jarrod Shelton have been recruited from Macarthur Rams. Arancibia is joined by 2018 regulars Jayden Nikolovski and Ben Lucas in midfield and Shelton will link up with right-fullbacks Terrance Jah and Sekou Bayo.
The side will be captained by defender Jarrod Pollard, who will lead the group along with vice-captains Lachlan Morgan and Jayden Nikolovski.
The U/20’s showed a lot of promise and fight in 2018, and it looks like this will be the case for the 2019 season. A high level of mental and physical toughness is required to compete in the Football NSW State League, and this has been driven by Mineeff into his squad to the point where it becomes second nature for the players. No matter what match it is, you can always rely on this team to put up a fight against any opposition.
Squad List: Mohamed Krishban, Jarrod Shelton, Jarrod Pollard (C), Jayden Nikolovski (VC), Lachlan Morgan (VC), Oscar Mari, Sekou Bayo, Sebastian Arancibia, Harrison Ellem, Preston Ridley, Abdullah Al-Okla, Harry Balaskas, Ethan Lehn, Terrance Jah, Yoshigaki Nomura.
Join us at Ian McLennan Park on Saturday the 23rd of March, as we take on the Western Condors in the opening round of the 2019 Football NSW State League. Our U/18’s kick off at 3pm, U/20’s kick off at 5pm and First Grade kick off at 7pm.