YOOGALI Football Club has launched a new youth academy program that has been inspired by the document Football Federation Australia hopes will one day help turn the Socceroos into an international powerhouse.
In an encouraging sign for local football, academy head Rocky Marando has committed to using FFA's National Football Curriculum (NFC) as a basis for the new training program, which will be available to all YFC juniors free of charge this year.
Introduced in 2009, the NFC was developed by FFA technical director Han Berger and emphasises skill development and a proactive style of play in an effort to correct the deficiencies in Australian football.
Marando said he and his coaching staff which includes assistant director Alex Davies, Luke DeValentin, Jordan Lando, David Gilligan and Anthony Sergi stuck to the guidelines when designing the academy's drills and training programs.
"We've based it on the curriculum. It's all skill work," he said.
"We want to get to the kids while they're still developing and make sure they get the same sort of coaching the first-graders get.
"As with every club, juniors are key. It's the breeding ground for your future senior team. The curriculum is advising us to teach players to run with the ball at the opposition, so that's what we're going to do focus on the technical aspects of the game.
"This way if they do get picked to go play at a higher level, they'll be prepared and know the way they will be coached there."
Marando said his coaching assistants all have the same mindset.
"We've been talking about doing this for quite a few years. These guys are all regular first-graders that the juniors look up to," he said.
"A lot of us have had exposure to some really good coaches."
The cost of the academy will be entirely absorbed in the club's registration fees, which remain steady this season.
"We're mindful that it's a pretty difficult time financially, and at the end of the day we just want to see more kids on the pitch playing," said John Carbone, YFC Juniors president.
Yoogali FC have also introduced an official code of conduct for players and coaches.
"That's come from the junior committee and will be enforced right through the whole club," Marando said. "We want to teach our players to become better people, not just better footballers.
"It'll make sure we keep up our professionalism and instill discipline to the players and give them a sense of responsibility."
The academy will be launched on Monday, February 4 from 6pm and will be run during school weeks of the year.