By Lance Jenkinson
The youth policy is in full swing at Noble Park Soccer Club in the Football Victoria men’s state league 4 east.
The Parkers are hoping the 2021 season can be a catalyst for long term success at the club.
Club president Slavco Gareski has earmarked the Parkers reserves team as the breeding ground for the next generation.
However, if a youngster is ready to make the step up to the seniors, age will be no barrier.
“Long term, my vision is that the ressies should be about player development for the boys who are 16, 17, 18,” Gareski said.
“It’s not that I don’t want a bunch of older blokes running around in the reserves, but if you’re going to be looking at long term success, you need those younger players coming through.
“We just didn’t have that under 18s and under 20s set up previously.
“The youth policy is what we’re pushing for the reserves and the seniors for that matter.”
Noble Park has introduced two key figures to aid its vision of discovering and developing talented young players.
Marko Gluscevic has taken on the senior coaching role, while Jim Memet was appointed reserves coach.
Gluscevic is an exciting young coach, ready to rip into his first head coaching position.
Sure, he is inexperienced, but he has come from good systems as a player and has done his apprenticeship as an assistant coach.
“He’s played in higher leagues, a former NPL player,” Gareski said.
“He had an assistant gig with Ashburton in state league 3.
“He’s sort of stepping up to senior coach, but he’s done his apprenticeship.
“I dare say that although he’ll have his own stamp on things, but the influence that he would’ve had from all these high level coaches will filter through to our level as well.”
Memet is the more experienced of the pair.
He had a decorated career as a player and loads of experience as a coach, particularly in youth development, which will be invaluable.
“He represented Macedonia back in the day at youth level and played senior football professionally,” Gareski said.
“He’s been involved in junior coaching.
“Having appointed an inexperienced coach in Marko, he’ll be a good compliment.
“He’ll be a good sounding board.”
While it is full steam ahead for the Noble Park seniors, the off-season has sputtered along when it comes to junior signings.
The Parkers will be trying everything in their powers to boost numbers in the coming weeks after a slower than usual uptake of registrations on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Normally this time of the year we’d be getting bucket loads of enquiries regarding the juniors, but they’re not exactly coming through as thick and fast as we would like to,” Gareski said.
“When we first came out of lockdown, I was taking some decent enquiries.
“All of a sudden, we broke our run of Covid free days and it’s not been the same since.”
Gareski is adamant that Noble Park has the cheapest junior soccer fees in the local area.
However, he understands the parents’ reluctance to commit with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, particularly with some still out of work.
Gareski is hopeful there will be spurt of junior re-signings and new faces in the coming weeks.
It is the club’s No. 1 mission between now and the start of the season to bolster junior numbers.
“We had a meeting before the Christmas and new year period and that was the key focus,” Gareski said.
“We’ll be trying everything we possibly can.”