Local youth football gets elite program

Father and son Christian and Chris Layland (left) coached their U/13 NSW team to victory in the National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour last month.

Byron Bay Football Club has become the first regional club in New South Wales to establish a high-performance program to be launched in 2019.

The new program is the first of its kind outside the big cities and is modelled on the A-League Academy programs run by clubs such as Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC.

In a far north coast first, youth coaches at Byron Bay will sign contracts worth up to $2,000 as Byron Bay FC looks to attract the region’s best to work with players aged 13 to 16 years old.

Byron Bay will run eight junior teams in the program with boys and girls catered for.

These teams will provide a development pathway not only to Byron’s Summer Youth League and senior teams, but also to NPL and A-League clubs in the cities.

‘We want to help identify and develop talented players in the far north coast and help them on their way to becoming professional footballers,’ said Chris Layland, Byron Bay FC youth technical director.

‘Players from the country are born with the same talent and potential as city kids but lack the opportunity and high-performance coaching that youth need to make it on the big stage.’

Layland, who is also assistant coach of the NSW U/13 team this year, says that the seeds of the new program were sown late last year when two of their players moved into elite football in Sydney.

‘We organised for Sam Shepherd to trial with Western Sydney Wanderers and for Hari Scott to trial and play pre-season with Sydney Olympic. Sam ended up signing for the Wanderers and scored goals in their victorious U/20s team all season.

‘If we can begin high-level development and identification at an early age these kinds of success stories will be a regular thing – not just one-offs,’ he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor Brunswick Picture House.