City Grand Final Captain Yaren Sozer has lauded the Club’s youth development programs as City picked up its second Foxtel National Youth League Championship in three years.
The match ebbed and flowed throughout stifling conditions on the Central Coast but City worked through the adversity to convert a 99th minute penalty, securing the title.
Sozer, who watched his side miss countless opportunities in the first half, said sometimes that’s football but believes the right result ensued, seeing his side’s hard work on the training track pay off in the final minutes of their season.
“It was an incredible experience,” Sozer said.
“Right from kick-off I think we were dominating the game and credit to the boys, the conditions were really hot and humid but we got what we deserved.
“I think we worked extremely hard during the season and it was topped off by an amazing performance by the boys. I think it’s the unwritten law of football where you don’t put your chances away, it comes back to the other end and it comes back to haunt you.
“That’s exactly what happened, Sydney stayed in the game but at the end of the day, we showed our character and all that hard work got us the result.”
“That comes down to all the hard work during the season and all the support staff. Every week we stay back late doing extras after training and that’s the moment when it counts, in the final.”
The goalkeeper wore the armband for City after an injury to captain Leo Athanasiou during the week ruled the midfielder for the final but Sozer said it was a big motivation for them heading into the contest. With Athansiou in their mind, City’s young chargers worked their way back against an experienced Sydney side to lift the trophy.
“Leo is a great role model, the real captain of the team,” he said.
“Unfortunate he wasn’t able to be there through injury but he was a big motivation for us even though he wasn’t there. We mentioned him in the rooms and in the huddle before the game so he’s definitely a big part of the team.
“Everyone was cramping by the end of the game, we were dropping like flies but there was the possibility of another 30 mins of extra time as well. We were going to fight blood, sweat and tears right to the end until we got the result.
“We play football to win silverware and it’s the second time in the last three years that this club has won the youth title. I think it shows we have the best youth set up in the country. The facilities and the coaching staff have a big part to play in winning titles and that’s what we have got.”
“We had one of the youngest youth league teams across the country so from where we were three months ago to where we are now, It just shows that age is just a number. A lot of the young boys stood up, the 15, 16, 17 year olds stepped up this year so credit to all of them.”
City now prepare to take on the PS4 NPL2 East competition as they move their development to the local leagues. Their season opener is against Richmond on Saturday 4 February at CFA Academy Pitches, kick-off 3pm.