NTC Boys unmatched for the third year in a row at the FFA NTC Challenge in Canberra
The 2015 FFA NTC Challenge in Canberra has concluded, with the Victorian boys once again showcasing their talents.
Victorian National Training Centre (NTC) Boys continued their phenomenal performances of recent years with another undefeated week at the NTC Challenge in Canberra.
The NTC Boys are the current National Champions and have been since 2013, while there was no official table this year, with the changed format, the young Victorians led the field once again in a hotly contested competition.
The young squad of Victorian boys, born in 2000, finished the tournament with five wins and a draw from six matches, adding to the remarkable recent record of the two national championships won by the 1998 and 1999 born players.
Combined, these three squads have had only a single loss in three years at the NTC Challenge, with 21 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss from 24 matches.
Head Coach Boris Seroshtan has been very impressed with this group of 2000 born players, noting that there is plenty of talent within the group, highlighting the strong relationship between the players and their willingness to learn as key reasons for the dramatic progression throughout 2015.
“In a program like the NTC, the identified players generally know each other beforehand from years of competition and all of a sudden they are put together and expected to trust and be loyal to each other, this is quite a challenging and confronting period for young guys, and their parents also for that matter, to work through,” Seroshtan said.
“I could clearly see the confidence growing week by week, they were always hungry to learn, the standards were constantly lifting, it was quite a unique situation to see the transformation, across many levels, throughout the year.
“Ultimately, they knew they would be judged in the high pressure environment at the NTC Challenge, and they stood up, which highlights the positive mentality within the playing group, this is a very important factor in talent identification, which was on show for all to see."
Seroshtan suggests that while there are of course no secrets to their success, a major factor is the culture within the NTC Program.
“David Smith, FFV Technical Director, has been extremely supportive of NTC staff, allowing the creativity to grow and evolve, to take risks and push the boundaries to establish a best practice training environment” he said.
“This type of support has allowed the NTC Program to create a strong learning culture, whereby players are guided to explore the link between technique and intelligence, encouraged to enjoy their football and be creative and innovative, while at the same time understanding the importance of hard work, resilience, respect, and professionalism.”
The NTC Program has been fortunate to retain the same core staff for three years, with Michael McBride (Assistant Coach) working with Boris Seroshtan to ensure Victoria stays at the forefront of youth development in Australia.
“You only have to speak with the boys to fully comprehend what Michael brings to the NTC program,” Seroshtan said.
“Michael is quite unique is his ability to connect with the players, he is very personable and creates an honest and genuine environment where the players are constantly challenged and enjoy themselves at the same time.
“What also sets him apart is his hard work and attention to detail, particularly when linking intelligence with technical insights, the boys graduating from the NTC Program over the past three years will strongly attest to this.
“Michael was the hardest working coach in Canberra last week, he was up until the early hours each night analysing upcoming opposition and preparing slight variations in our playing system to cater for the insights gained.”
The Victorian NTC Program is extensive and conducted 12 months of the year, and has fantastic support staff to ensure its ongoing success.
“The NTC Goalkeeper Coach is Jeff Olver, he has a wealth of knowledge and a key reason for the recent success of our young goalkeepers,” Seroshtan said.
“A welcome addition to this year's NTC Program is Sharna Naidu (Team Manager and Sports Science), who added to the organisation and professionalism of the program”.
“We were fortunate to have great support from Physiohealth again to look after our players, along with fantastic support staff from Victoria University, including Adam Cox, Katherin Sloan, Codey Moran and Fabio Serpiello."
Football talent in Victoria appears to be getting stronger and stronger, and Seroshtan believes that youth football at the grassroots level is a key reason behind the large pool of quality players coming through the ranks.
“There are now more younger players than ever enjoying football here in Victoria and at the same time clubs, parents and coaches are getting better at creating fun environments for kids to learn and thrive," he said.
Seroshtan also suggests that there are a lot of unsung heroes out there putting in a lot of hard work and commitment to assist in developing the talented players in Victoria.
“Youth development is a genuine team effort over a long period of time, with parents, clubs, schools, coaches, volunteers and mentors playing a huge role in getting each player to the level required to join the National Training Centre here in Victoria," he said.
“I am just reading through the list of the clubs that our current NTC squad arrived from in 2015: Ballarat Red Devils, FC Bulleen Lions, Dandenong Thunder SC, Glen Eira FC, Heidelberg Stars SC, Heidelberg United FC, Moreland Zebras FC, Northcote City FC, North Geelong Warriors SC, Pascoe Vale SC, Sunshine George Cross JSC and Werribee City FC.
"I am certain that there is another long list of clubs, schools and people not mentioned above that were involved in each players formative years.”
2015 FFA NTC Challenge - Results
ACT 1 - 2 SA
VIC 2 - 0 TAS
QLD 2 - 0 NNSW
ACT 1 - 1 NT
VIC 0 - 0 NSW
QLD 1 - 2 WA
SA 6 - 0 NT
TAS 1 - 1 NSW
NNSW 1 - 2 WA
WA 0 - 2 VIC
NT 0 - 5 TAS
NSW 1 - 4 QLD
WA 0 - 1 ACT
NT 0 - 5 NNSW
NSW 1 - 1 SA
VIC 4 - 2 ACT
TAS 2 - 1 NNSW
QLD 2 - 0 SA
NSW 0 - 3 WA
QLD 5 - 1 TAS
SA 0 - 2 NNSW
NSW 5 - 0 NT
QLD 2 - 3 ACT
SA 0 - 2 VIC
WA 5 - 0 NT
TAS 4 - 1 ACT
NNSW 1 - 2 VIC