Werribee City will not waver from its youth policy despite it being relegated to the second tier of the NPL at the end of last season.
The Bees’ long-term youth development plan is just starting to bear fruit.
“That’s what we’re embarking on over the next four years,” Bees’ media liaison person Michael Falla told Star Weekly.
“We’re really looking to build it up from our youth squads, so when they get to a senior level there will be a bit of loyalty around the club.
“We’ll have potentially six to 10 kids who have played on the same teams for the past five or six years.”
The first wave of talented young players are starting to come through for Werribee City. There is a handful already training with the senior squad to be considered for selection when the Bees open the season on February 21 against Whittlesea Ranges at Galvin Park.
Dimitar Veljanoski returns from representing Victoria in the under-15s, and could be in for some game time with the seniors this season.
“It’s looking likely that he’ll keep his spot in the senior team, which is pretty awesome for a kid of his age,” Falla said.
Veljanoski was part of the Big V team with teammate Yasin Nur, who is also one to watch.
“I know Yas and Dimitar have been approached by [A-League clubs] City and Victory for their youth squads, but they’ve chosen to stay around because of the set-up we’re going with, and obviously there’s some valuable playing time for them in the senior squad,” Falla said.
“It demonstrated what we’re doing at the club is really giving these kids an opportunity to progress and make it as far as they can.”
Darcy Anastovski is another Bees’ junior who has been identified as a talent early.
He is part of the Skillaroos program, which assists in the development of gifted young players considered potential future Socceroos.
In other news, it is a case of as you were for the Truganina Hornets committee, with Sergio Lunedei (president) and Francesco Sculli (vice president) re-elected at the club’s annual general meeting.
Point Cook had a tough start to the pre-season circuit on Sunday, with a 6-1 loss to Eastern Lions, coming from a higher division.
Hoppers Crossing and Werribee City will play a pre-season ‘Fight for Bailey’ charity match on February 13 at Galvin Park.
It will be the first time the two clubs have squared off since way back in 2003 when Hoppers Crossing emerged victorious 2-1.
The game will be played to raise funds for two-year-old Bailey Chesson, who suffers from acute Myelodysplastic syndrome.
Bailey is the son of Josie Chesson, who plays in the Reds’ women’s team and was formerly of Werribee City, and nephew to Brian ‘Buddha’ Chesson, the Reds’ men’s captain and also a one-time Werribee City player.