Football Federation Tasmania (FFT) can announce it has secured a strategic partnership with Melbourne City FC, which will see the Club become fundamental to an elite development pathway for players in Tasmania.
The focus of the partnership will be to establish authentic pathways for talented Tasmanian players, from FFT’s National Development Centre program through to Melbourne City’s development teams, including the Club’s National Youth League (NYL), National Premier Leagues (NPL) and Westfield W-League teams.
FFT will have the opportunity to send state teams to the City Football Academy in Melbourne, in order for players to gain further exposure within City’s development framework.
The partnership will also assist Melbourne City coaches in identifying talent for City’s NYL, NPL or W-League teams, with the partnership focused on engagement with, and development of, junior pathways for emerging young talent to professional football.
The Club will also work with FFT to pursue opportunities to hold matches for its NYL, NPL and W-League against Tasmanian state teams in both Victoria and Tasmania, providing further aspirational opportunities for emerging players.
Melbourne City FC CEO, Scott Munn, said the partnership would lead to mutually beneficial outcomes for both the Club and Tasmanian football.
“This partnership aims to provide a genuine pathway for Tasmanian players, both male and female, to a professional club in the national competition,” Mr Munn said.
“Melbourne City is firmly committed to growing the game in areas of Australia where there is no direct pathway for juniors and has been part of the club’s overall strategic vision for developing Australian junior football.”
The development pathway from Tasmanian football to Melbourne City FC was evidenced recently by the transfer of Tasmanian NTC player Nathanial Atkinson into Melbourne City FC’s NPL team for the 2016 season.
Atkinson, 16, played against Melbourne City in Melbourne for a Tasmanian junior team, catching the eye of City coaching staff and was rewarded with a youth team contract for the NPL Victoria 1 season.
Previous to Atkinson’s transfer, Tasmanians Nick Morton and Will Abbott have represented the Club at youth level, while Jeremy Walker progressed through the youth ranks to earn 16 senior appearances with the Club’s Hyundai A-League team.
FFT President Sean Collins said the deal provides new opportunities within Tasmania’s talented player pathways, and hopes more players will follow in Atkinson’s footsteps.
“This partnership will provide new opportunities both here and in Victoria for some of our best players, allowing them to work within one of the professional football environments in Australia at the City Football Academy”, Mr Collins said.
“It will also assist our coaches to further develop their skills, through their interactions with Melbourne City coaches and support personnel”
“It will also open the door for discussions around matches in Tasmania as we look to provide a stronger program for both our Men’s and Women’s state teams, at various levels.”
The partnership commences effective immediately, with the Club commencing work with FFT to identify opportunities and a schedule of activities.