A SPECIALIST juniors training program will be set up by the Melbourne Knights in a bid to re-focus the club on the pursuit of excellence and quality.
Coaching staff and club officials are pleased to announce the decision to set up at Knights Stadium a school of excellence. The school will be the cornerstone of the club’s new Youth Development Program.
A high-powered 10-person steering committee has been set up to forge and oversee the program that will include training courses for coaches, codes of conduct and a variety of training programs.
The committee’s first step has been to set up a Development Squad comprising the best players from the U13s, U14s, U15s and U16s teams. The squad will benefit by getting concentrated and specialised training in a bid to fast track the development of players.
Youth team coach Luciano Trani has been appointed the committee’s technical director. His assistants include Ivan Istuk and Joe Spoljar.
Trani last week finished overseeing youth and academy squad trials that were attended by more than 120 players. Players came from all over Victoria, including Ballarat and Morwell.
Club director and juniors president Steve Horbec says the Knights are raising the profile of the good work it is doing in developing players.
“We have a top-class coach staff and now we want to produce top-class players through a top-class program,” Horbec says.
“Our players deserve nothing less.”
On the juniors front, he says, work has already begun preparing for the new season that starts next February.
“We have advertised for junior coaching positions for all age groups. Existing coaches will be able to re-apply if they wish to do so,” he says.
Istuk is preparing an intensive fitness and aerobics-style training timetable to complement a specialised skills program.
Junior teams might find they will have several coaches working with them during the course of the season.
A Disciplinary Committee will also be set up to enforce a code of conduct for players and parents. This will allow a process of conciliation and mediation if required.
“We are trying to establish a new culture within the Melbourne Knights juniors,” says Horbec.
“It’s about becoming better organised and professional.”
As the juniors’ season comes to an end, the Knights’ Superleague U14s, 15s and 16s teams are each fighting for top-three positions. The each have one more round to play.