The Central Coast Mariners Academy commence their PS4 NPL 2 season this Sunday at Pluim Park against Marconi Stallions and we caught up with the 1st team Head Coach, Ben Cahn and take a look at his squad.
Cahn’s Foxtel National Youth League (FNYL) team who fell just a game short of the competition’s Grand Final are gearing up for the PS4 NPL 2 Season as the ‘Central Coast Mariners Academy’ with a few new faces to their ranks.
Commencing their second segment of a 12 month cycle across two competitions (Foxtel National Youth League and PS4 NPL 2) Cahn has the luxury of taking a familiar group of players into the competition that will run from this weekend through until September.
The batch of brightest young prospects at the Central Coast Mariners resume that journey this Sunday at Pluim Park and Head Coach Ben Cahn explained the transition between the FNYL & PS4 NPL 2 seasons.
“This is a difficult time of the year to manage player’s training loads because we bring 18s & 20s into the mix as well as the FNYL squad,” Cahn said. “All the FNYL boys had a 2.5 to 3-week break and the 18s and 20s have not played since the last NPL season so bringing them all back in together is tough because they’re all at different stages of fitness but we’re at a point now where hopefully they’re quite aligned and we will be ready to go,” Cahn said.
Majority of the players from the FNYL season have made the transition but there are also a couple of new faces added to the mix.
“Because of the age restrictions put on us in the NPL we needed to make a couple of changes from our FNYL team,” Cahn said. “We’ve attracted some exciting young players, one to look out for is Charles William who came from the Parramatta Eagles and is a dynamic quick midfielder with all the attributes. We’re certainly excited by him this pre-season,” Cahn said.
It’s a baptism of fire in PS4 NPL 2 Round 1 with the Mariners Academy pitted against one of the heavyweights of the competition in Marconi Stallions that boasts former Hyundai A-League players such as: Michael Beauchamp, Peter Triantis, Marko Jesic, Mirjan Pavlović and Sean Rooney to name a few.
“We’ve managed to get some footage of their pre-season games and we’ve got a really good understanding of some of their players,” Cahn said. “We came up against them and didn’t do so well last season so we’ve prepared well this week to try and deal with them.
“But also we need to keep in our heads that the focus should be on the development of our players – we have our own playing style that we’re trying to build and we if we can control enough of the game with the technical players that we’ve got we have a good chance,” Cahn said.
Cahn arrived on the Central Coast from Noosa at the start of the last PS4 NPL 2 campaign and insists his understanding of the NSW competition as well as the players on his roster will make starting the season an easier task. Cahn also noted the differences between the FNYL & NPL competitions.
“I’m much more familiar with the players and with football in NSW in general so I think we are in a much better place in terms of player recruitment, staff preparation and everything than we were this time last season,” Cahn said. “Having the FNYL leading into this NPL season has really helped.
“But the NPL & FNYL are completely different competitions and different learning experiences for the boys. The FNYL is the best youth players in the country, it’s very technical and most teams have a possession based playing style that is less results focused.
“If you look at the teams in the NPL there are a lot more older/experienced players and with promotion relegation – winning games is all that matters to those teams and you will face a variety of styles in the way teams play football,” Cahn said.
During the very tight gap between the FNYL & NPL seasons, Cahn was also able to spend time with teams in the U.K. and learn more about best practice when it comes to youth development.
“I was lucky enough to spend some time with Queens Park Rangers and Brentford,” Cahn said. “I spent two days with each – the first team and under 23s at QPR and the first team and B Team at Brentford.
“It was a fantastic opportunity and I take as many chances as I can to broaden my knowledge and see what other clubs at similar levels are doing. It was certainly refreshing to see that what we’re doing here at the Mariners is not far off what the benchmark around the world are doing,” Cahn said.
First Grade Kick-off is 1:30pm and entry is FREE!
Central Coast Mariners Academy Squad: Jordon Bennett, Cooper Buswell, Shelford Dais, James Enticknap, Brenton Fox, Peter Kekeris, Matt Lee, Thomas Lyons, Jake McGuiness, Aidan Munford, Reece Papadimitrios, Adam Pearce, Maki Petratos, Sean Pratt, Mortaza Safdari, Gianni Stensness, Duncan Stewart, Lachlan Wales Steve Whyte, Charles William
Central Coast Mariners Academy vs. Marconi Stallions
Sunday 5 March 1:30pm kick-off
Pluim Park, Lisarow