Calder United focused on the next generation

Calder United
Melindaj Barbieri. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Lance Jenkinson

Young Matildas midfielder MelindaJ Barbieri is back at Calder United.

Barbieri has taken on a coaching role with Calder while she rehabilitates a knee injury.

The 19-year-old is coaching some of Calder’s Miniroos players, while the club will aid her with her recovery.

Barbieri, a contracted player with Melbourne Victory in the W-League, is a former Calder player in the NPL women’s competition.

Calder president Eric Psarianos is thrilled to have Barbieri back at the club.

“We’re going to help her with her rehab a bit, but it’s great that she’s also going to put back into the club and coach some of our Miniroos girls,” he said.

“She did her ACL playing with the Young Matildas about three or four months ago. She’s on a bit of a recovery now.”

Calder United has been one of the most successful teams in NPL Women’s in recent seasons.

Last season, Calder took out the treble, winning the cup competition, the premiers plate and triumphing in the grand final.

Their focus this off season has been on the junior ranks and creating a pathway from juniors right through to the elite level.

“We’re expanding our program to get girls as young as eight into the Calder set-up,” Psarianos said.

“That way we can start that development program even earlier. “It’s full steam ahead with that one for next season.”

What has made it easier for Calder United to bolster its young ranks is the willingness of senior players to help out with coaching.

Barbieri, Polly Doran and Sarah Lorca are just three of the players who will have a big involvement.

Psarianos said it was important for the senior players to get involved as they are seen by the youngsters as role models. “Those young girls aspire to be like them,” he said.