2023 National Youth Championships for Boys Day One Wrap

A bumper public holiday crowd of over 2,500 spectators were treated to plenty of action as the National Youth Championships 2023 Boys' tournament got underway at Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood in Sydney on Monday. 

Perfect conditions awaited teams as they gathered bright and early for the official opening ceremony. Blacktown City Council Deputy Mayor and Councillor, Julie Griffiths AM welcomed the participants before vice-captains, captains and head coaches of each team were presented with their armbands ahead of the opening games. 

As the sun shined down, the goals rained down, with teams wasting no time announcing themselves to the competition, signaling an exciting week of football ahead.

Northern NSW start the tournament strong 

Day one of the tournament saw NNSWF’s under-15s and under-16s teams finish the day with a win and a loss under their belt. 

The under-15s team went down 2-0 to Queensland Maroon before defeating Victoria White 3-1. They finished the day mid table and will face Tasmania and Western Australia in day two of matches on Tuesday.

The under-16s team were victorious against Queensland Maroon winning 3-1 and then went down 2-1 to Victoria White to finish the day third on the table.  On day two of matches, they will face Tasmania and Western Australia. 

NNSWF Technical Director Ryan Doidge was pleased with the efforts from both sides. 

“I am really proud of the efforts of the players and coaching staff in representing Northern NSW Football in challenging weather conditions,” Doidge said. 

“Both teams played two tough fixtures back-to-back and did exceptionally well representing Northern NSW Football to the highest of standards both on and off the field.

“I am looking forward to another challenging day and have full confidence in the work that the players and coaches are doing to continue achieving results at this national level.”

Adelaide United FC Coach watches on

Former Socceroo and current head coach of Isuzu-Ute Men's A-League team Adelaide United FC, Carl Veart was in the stands as the South Australian Under 15s opened their campaign with a victory.

While Veart was pleased with the result, his focus was more on the individual performance of players. 

"I've come down to look at the South Australian boys in a different environment compared to when I see them back in South Australia," Veart said.

"The National Youth Championships are very important for the development of individual players. They need to be exposed to good quality football at a high level for the kids to be able to go on and make their next step to the professional level.

"I'm just more focused on some of the individual players and their development rather than the team performance."

Spotlight shines on Officials 

While scouts and national team selectors are watching closely to spot the next football star, lead Official Coach Andrew Meimarakis is doing the same, but with the men holding a whistle or flag.

As Football Victoria's Referee Development Manager and an Isuzu-Ute A-League Assistant Referee, Meimarakis brings a wealth of experience to the young crop of officials who also get a chance to impress at this year's National Youth Championships.

"The purpose is to identify talent the same as the players, it's no different. It's also to identify referee coaches for when we stop officiating," Meimarakis said.

"We're looking for people who share a lot of qualities and the philosophy for football officials. We want someone who is respectful, has personality and character, is physically fit, is a good decision maker, and is passionate about football."

The quality of match officials is just as strong as the quality of players, with the best young referees selected from around the country to officiate proceedings.

"From what I've seen so far, there's plenty to be happy about. We Haven't had any complaints yet, so it's a positive sign," Meimarakis said. 

"The overarching goal is to ensure they enjoy themselves; they provide and facilitate a really entertaining game of football and they take what we teach them back to their state to teach others."

Extreme heat causes changes to the draw

Due to the extreme heat forecast for Western Sydney on Tuesday, 3 October, Football Australia has made changes to the match schedule for both Day 2 and Day 3 for the National Youth Championships 2023 Boys' Age Groups.

With temperatures expected to reach 36 degrees and with some matches contested on synthetic, the decision was made to switch around the current Day 2 and Day 3 match schedule, so the Day 3 (Wednesday) match schedule will now be contested on Day 2 (Tuesday) and vice versa.

Kick-off times for Tuesday, 3 October, are also slightly different to ensure no play occurs between 12.00pm AEDT and 6.00pm AEDT to avoid the sweltering conditions, with five kick-off times 8:30am, 9:35am, 10:40am, 6:45pm and 7:50pm and four pitches to be utilised.

You can view the full changes to the draw HERE

More on the National Youth Championships: 
Full day one results and tables are available HERE 
See the 2023 National Youth Championships Program HERE 
Watch the 2023 National Youth Championships HERE