Young Aussies Feature - Gold Coast Graduation

Which young pretenders are looking like breaking into the first team squad?

Gold Coast United Youngsters

As we head into the fourth week of this season-s National Youth League, the standard is as high as ever and more and more youth league players are knocking on the doors of their first team A-League squad.

Football in Australia has come a long way in recent years and the NYL is part of making sure that it keeps on moving in the right direction, onwards and upwards as it were! No fewer than 22players made it into the A-League first team squads after representing their National Youth League teams in the first season and 24 made the jump in the second season.

The competition is vital if the Australian national team is to keep moving onwards and upwards in the way it has been in recent years and one side who are really committed to nurturing their youth talent are Gold Coast United.

Two of this season-s Hyundai A-League graduates before the start of the season were Jerrad Tyson and Golgol Mebrahtu. Tyson, as a goalkeeper, has yet to make his debut for United but Eritrean born Mebrahtu has had more opportunity to impress having featured three times so far this campaign.

Having made six appearances last season, he obviously impressed coach Miron Bleiberg who rewarded the youngster with a full-time contract. United-s promising young attacking players also include three other former National Youth League players in the form of James Brown, Tahj Minniecon and Chris Harold.

Brown-s so far been involved in four matches this season and is set to be one of the more impressive young players in the Gold Coast setup. After suffering an unfortunate start to his career when he broke his leg last season, he enjoyed a bitter sweet term after featuring in the National Youth League winning squad.

Signed from the Australian Institute of Sport, Brown was offered a three-year deal and big things are expected this season and he-s on the right track after scoring against Wellington in a 3-1 home win. Another big name for the season is Chris Harold, who trained at the mighty Manchester United-s Academy last season. He mixed with players such as Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Finishing as second highest scorer in last season-s National Youth League, he-s expected to break into the first team this season, especially with the departure of Hyundai A-League-s star man Shane Smeltz. He made his debut against Sydney in a 1-1 draw in September but this is a name you-re sure to be hearing more of.

Adama Traore is also a name to remember and after starting seven games this season, he-s making the left back spot his own. One of the few Africans plying his trade down under, he-s a specialist defender who-s always keen to get forward down the flanks.

The Ivory Coast Under 21 international is keen to get his name out there as he pushes for a place in the full squad. As long as he avoids the injuries that hampered his progress last season he should have a bright future.

Finally, Tahj Minniecon has made a real impact so far this season in his three starts and one substitute appearance. His explosive pace and power make him one of the hardest players in the league to play against and after scoring the winner in last season-s National Youth League Final, there-s sure to be more of the same to follow. Used from the bench no less than 10 times last year, he-ll be willing to prove to the manager that he-s worth a start and if the matches so far are anything to go by he-ll be firmly in the manager-s thoughts when it comes to naming his starting 11.

Other names to look out for this season are Halloran (who made his debut this season), Josh Brilliante (who looks like a great prospect fort this season) and Koh Satake.

There are sure to be a few more who will break onto the scene in this year-s Hyundai A-League and National Youth League so check out the Hyundai A-League site for all the latest on who-s coming through the ranks.