Two matches down, two wins – but Sydney FC youth coach Steve O’Connor says the encouraging start doesn’t hide the fact his National Youth League team still has a lot of work to do.
Two matches down, two wins – but Sydney FC youth coach Steve O-Connor says the encouraging start doesn-t hide the fact his National Youth League team still has a lot of work to do.
The Sky Blues- young guns have enjoyed first-up wins over the Queensland Roar and Adelaide United, and while the side showed passages of entertaining, flowing football, the former Australian Institute of Sport mentor wants to start working on the finer details with his squad.
“Looking at the report card, I-d say we-d be at a B or B+, but now we can grow from here,” O-Connor assessed. “The two games so far have been decent, competitive and there-s been good football played, so we-ve started reasonably well.”
“We-ll continue to work on shape, we-ve executed reasonably well, but there-s a fair bit of work to do in terms of details with play in front third, play at the back, and becoming steady on the ball.”
While results are always the main aim, the development focus of the league, alongside O-Connor-s experience in bringing young talent through means the Sydney boss wants to start working on the finer points of his players- performances – but he-ll have to do so within the confines of the 12-man squad and the assistance of budding ‘train-on- players.
“You need to get them on the field on a regular basis to run through scenarios, but if you don-t have the players available it becomes difficult,” he said. “Results are the name of the game, but within that, you want to improve the way they are playing. That doesn-t happen overnight, but as we know it-s the first year, it-s a start and hopefully these things can improve each year.”
While getting 11 v 11 opportunities at training is at the top of O-Connor-s wish list, when the resources become available in the long term he-d like to see the league implement a full-time set-up, like those in Europe.
The former Socceroo sees the establishment of a Sydney FC academy as the ideal future outcome, which would provide a “conveyer belt of talent” into the senior side.
“To get down to the nitty gritty, we want to get more players in, but to improve their performance on the park, we need to do it more regularly. And then you-ll see real improvement,” said O-Connor.
In the meantime, there-s nothing like a road-trip to Perth to teach the youngsters about maintaining focus in professional club football.
The side heads to Members Equity Stadium on Sunday chasing the third -traight win of its inaugural campaign.
The clash will be the warm up act to the Hyundai A-League meeting between FC and the Glory, and kicks off at 11:15am Perth local time.