It is a new-look U/20 squad for the South Coast Flame in 2019, with six players from our 2018 squad returning for the 2019 season along with two players promoted from our U/18’s, one player promoted from our U/16’s and 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 6th and just two points behind Hurstville City Minotaurs – the team that ended our finals ambitions on the last day of the regular season. Highlights of the season was a 2-0 win against UNSW to celebrate their first home game along with a 2-1 win the following week
against Bankstown United – who have recently been promoted to NPL3. Along with these results, 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 pre-season, results have been positive for our U/20 side. The team has chalked up five wins over this period of time, 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. Despite this, Mineeff’s squad has taken their work ethic to the next level – training several times a week on top of a game or even two. The schedule has been very hectic, however it is preparing the side for an exciting season ahead. A ‘Never Say Die’ attitude has been instilled by Mineeff into the squad, which was evident in this team in 2018 as well as 2019 – which makes this team one to be wary of.
As stated earlier, there have been ten new additions to the squad which narrowly missed out on finals football last season. New goalkeeper Mohamed Krishban brings a sense of passion 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 sixteen-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 why that is the case 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 seems that this will be the case for the 2019 season. A high level of mental and physical toughness that is required in the Football NSW State League 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.