One eye on the future


Tara Murray

Keilor Park’s focus on youth is starting to pay off in Football Victoria state league 1 north-west.

The club has worked hard the past few years to get a strong junior program in place and is starting to see some of those young players come through.

Coach Paul Falzon said they had a good young crop of players.

“We’ve been trying to get a program up and going and identifying youth players. It has come to fruition this year with a few players who have come through into reserves and now into seniors.

“It’s great for the future of the club and it shows other players at the club that they can push for selection.”

As part of the growth of their youngsters, the club’s under-18 and under-21 players train alongside the senior squad.

“This year’s squad is exciting to watch, it is very fast, high-press, attacking play – looking to score at every opportunity,” Falzon said.

While the club is happy with the progress of its younger players, Falzon said the “tough competition” was challenging.

“The club always strives to win every game and obtain promotion; however, we have added a youth development program to ensure sustained success into the future. This has meant that we have not achieved our winning expectations this year, but we are experiencing great growth in our players.”

The club drew its first game back after the COVID-19 break, conceding a couple of soft goals. It was due to face Essendon Royals on Friday night.

Falzon said that while there had been a disadvantage having a break, it also gave the players an opportunity to rest.

He said the club was realistic about its expectations this season, with a big focus on next year.

“It is about trying to stabilise yourself and get the younger players familiar with what we want to do.

“We’re hoping next year we can push to try and get into the NPL [National Premier League]. We want to keep this group together and add a few more players.”

Keilor Park’s men’s side played Essendon Royals on Friday night, losing 2-1.

President Ben Di-Lorenzo said the club was continuing to find ways to get more people involved in the club.

“The club is an all ability and inclusive club that has soccer programs suited for five-year-old to senior female and male players with over 80 per cent of our players and members living in the area.

“We take pride in developing inclusive programs for the local community and this year we are proud to be running the Go Soccer Mums program with over 30 mothers of our players training and enjoying the game of soccer.”