Pathway of dreams for budding youngsters


Former Redlands United FC and Olympic FC junior Liam O’Bryan has taken the first steps on an inspiring and expanding football talent pathway in Queensland.

The 17-year-old was drafted into the Roar’s PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland squad earlier this year (as a 16-year-old) and enjoyed the rare opportunity of playing for the Young Roar against the junior coach who helped kick-start his budding football career – Redlands United player-coach and PS4NPLQLD’s leading scorer this season, Graham Fyfe.

The Roar won last month’s Round 22 PS4NPLQLD match 2-1 against Fyfe’s Devils, with O’Bryan coming on as a second-half substitute.

It was a special moment for the master and the apprentice and highlighted a growing level of co-operation within Queensland football that will be galvanised even further when the Roar play the cream of Under-23 talent from the PS4NPLQLD at QSAC on Saturday (4.30pm kick off).

It is way too early in O’Bryan’s football education for him to be involved in Saturday’s ground-breaking clash but he typifies a host of skilful young footballers now working hard with a dream of one day playing Hyundai A-League football.

And the Roar is helping to foster and build that talent pathway.

Saturday’s match is the chance for some of the best young players from this season’s PS4NPLQLD to impress against Hyundai A-League opposition and perhaps open the opportunity for them to pursue their football dreams at a higher level.

Fyfe, a product of the Celtic youth system, played 29 times for Raith Rovers and had 51 appearance for Cheltenham. He finished this season with 18 goals for Redlands United.

He has urged players involved in Saturday’s match to make the most of the opportunity and encouraged even younger players such as O’Bryan to continue working hard at their craft.

“This is the start of the hard work for them,” Fyfe said.

“You can get so far on potential then you have to work hard to make yourself better all the time.

“You can never think you have made it . . . always push yourself and listen to all the great coaches you are going to have around you.”

Roar Youth Coach John Sime echoed Fyfe’s sentiments as O’Bryan joins a new crop of youth products bidding for selection in the next Young Roar squad squad to contest the new season of the Foxtel National Youth League.

“Coaches like Graham are doing a wonderful job in giving young players the right grounding in junior football and the NPL to help them make the next step up in their careers,”said Sime, who like Fyfe is from Dundee.

O’Bryan said it was an unexpected surprise to play against Fyfe, who first coached him as a 12-year-old.

“He’s a class player, he has pretty much made the player I am so far and to play against him was a chance to show what I could do,” Liam said.

“I now have to keep working as hard as I can and make the most of any opportunities I might get at the Roar.”

Redlands United, who hosted the Roar’s game against Newcastle Jets last Saturday with support from Redland City Council, have defender Christian Trovato in the Under-23 All-Stars.

The full squad is: Starting XI: Nicholas Mooney (FNQ Heat – goalkeeper), Scot Coulson (Brisbane Strikers – fullback), Eoghan Murphy (Palm Beach SC – fullback), Ari Isman (Northern Fury – defender), Christian Trovato (Redlands United – defender), Joe Duckworth (Western Pride – midfielder), Cameron Nucifora (FNQ Heat – midfielder), Jesse Rigby (Western Pride – midfielder), Joseph Thornton (Northern Fury – winger), Ryan Roderick (Brisbane City – winger), Sean Karambasis (Northern Fury – striker). Substitutes: Shane Viitakangas (Palm Beach SC – goalkeeper), Jack Lightbody (Brisbane City – fullback), Kai Smith (Brisbane City – defender), Roman Hoffman (Palm Beach SC – midfielder), Cameron Nairn (Sunshine Coast FC – winger), Harrison Sawyer (Western Pride – striker). Coaches: Martin Docherty (FNQ Heat – head coach), Grae Piddick (Palm Beach SC – assistant coach).

The match kicks off at 4.30pm and precedes the PS4NPL Finals Series Elimination Final between Queensland Premiers and Champions Moreton Bay Jets FC and Northern NSW Premiers Edgeworth Eagles FC (7.30pm kick off).

Admission is $10 (adults); $5 (concessions, children under 16, pensioners and students); FREE (all FFA-registered players 16 years and under  and children under five years).