Brisbane Roar is excited to announce eight youth players have joined the Isuzu UTE A-League team ahead of the upcoming 2022/23 season.
Goalkeepers Lachlan Duke and Cardiff Pond, defenders Zahi Addis and James Nikolovski, midfielders Riley Gill, Sam Klein and James Murphy and forward Thomas Waddingham, have all signed youth development contracts.
Head Coach Warren Moon said the success over the last couple of years has seen Brisbane Roar Academy players enter the A-League Men’s competition.
“Now that they’ve moved on, we’re looking to find the next generation of Brisbane Roar Academy talent and hope we can see the same number progressing to the first team,” Moon said.
“We’re excited by their talent and think they’ve got futures in the game, they just got to keep their head down and work hard and see where it takes them,” he added.
Seven of the players, who received contracts came through the Brisbane Roar Academy including Gill and Murphy, who were both part of the U23 NPL Men’s championship-winning team.
Gill, a product of Brisbane City and John Paul College, was brought into Roar’s NPL side in the back end of the most recent season after returning from Spain where he spent time with AD Merida’s youth system.
Murphy, who is also a product of Brisbane City, featured in 12 games for the NPL Men’s side alongside his starting role in the U23’s team.
Gold Coast United FC product Zahi Addis is the only player from outside the Brisbane Roar Academy program to have earnt a contract.
The left sided player made his NPL Men’s debut during the 2020 season, a month shy of his 17th birthday, making him Gold Coast United’s youngest starting debutant.
Addis came to the Gold Coast club after stints with the Newcastle Jets Academy having played his junior club football for Mullumbimby Brunswick Valley FC and Byron Bay FC before joining United in U14.
“He’s an exciting talent and we have a very close working relationship with Gold Coast, and they are a great producer of talent,” Moon said.
“They were accommodating and helped us not only identify him but allowing us to bring him in to train with us. He’s been really good since he’s come in.”
A handful of the players have also featured in Roar’s pre-season friendly matches including Waddingham, Klein and Nikolovski.
Waddingham, who was identified by Moon as then Academy General Manager in 2019 at a Talent Support Program (TSP) match, earned a regular spot in the Men’s NPL Queensland side this season, playing 13 games, starting 11 and finished as the co-leading scorer for the team with five goals.
Much like Waddingham, Klein also heavily featured in the Roar’s NPL Men’s team during this season, playing 18 matches.
Recently, the young midfielder was named in Young Socceroos’ Head Coach Trevor Morgan’s 24-player squad to represent Australia at the upcoming four continents U-20 Costa Cálida Supercup in Spain.
“Sam has been a good addition for us. His rise has been rapid from the Under 18 to 23’s and then he got an A-League debut. He’s in the U20 national team now and he’s someone that we’re excited about,” Moon said.
Pond and Duke are considered two of the top young goalkeepers in the State, having been invited to attend the FFA Goalkeeper Development Camp in 2019.
“We know that they’ve been on the radar of junior national teams for a while now so we’re glad that they’re both now at the top end and hopefully when they can develop a bit more physically, we think we’ve got two good young goalkeepers,” Moon said.
Further signing announcements will be made shortly.