Pride juniors in A-League club's sights
WESTERN Pride have added another first to their growing list of development milestones with three players of the future selected to trial for an A-League club.
Pride under-16 goalkeeper and captain Josh Boyle will be accompanied by teammates Darryl Barton and Jermaine Chiuta at a week-long Central Coast Mariners camp in October.
Mariners scouts identified the talented trio earlier in the year, keen to see them perform in an A-League environment where they could become future National Youth League (NYL) footballers.
The boys will work with A-League and NYL players returning from their off-season break.
Although Pride had nine junior girls trial with the Queensland Academy of Sport last year, this is the first time three players from the one boys team have been recognised as having higher level potential.
Josh's dad and Western Pride general manager Pat Boyle was delighted to have the three exciting prospects given such an opportunity.
"It just goes to show how those boys are developing under the program. It's certainly something that Western Pride are very proud of,'' Pat said.
"For those who want to get to the next level, it just opens up an avenue, which has been our ethos and our philosophy from day dot, for kids of this region. Providing them the pathways to get to the next level.''
The trio have enjoyed terrific seasons in the National Premier Leagues under-16 competition.
Barton won the Golden Boot award for the entire competition, scoring 35 goals in 23 matches.
That included some four-goal and hat-trick hauls.
Barton has been with Western Pride since under-12.
"Darryl is a unique talent and he's an amazing young man to boot,'' the general manager said.
"The world's his oyster to be honest.''
While Josh has excelled at the other end of the field, Chiuta is a defender/midfielder performing at a consistently high standard.
Josh has been with Pride since the club's first season in 2013. Jermaine joined the Ipswich club in under-13s.
After finishing the regular season in fourth with 18 wins, Pride's under-16 side bowed out of this year's NPL finals race after losing 1-0 to Gold Coast United on Sunday.
United scored in the 65th minute at AJ Kelly Park.
"They certainly done the club proud this year. They certainly were in it right until the final whistle,'' Boyle said.
Meanwhile, Pride's under-15 boys remain the club's last NPL team still in finals' contention.
Pride advanced to the next stage after beating Brisbane City 3-1 last weekend at the Croatian Sports Centre.
Pat Smith, Beau Brebner and Luka Mirkovic scored in the first half to set up the victory.
Pride's under-15 boys play Sunshine Coast in Sunday's 1pm semi-final at the Croatian Sports Centre.
"Right across our junior program this year has been fantastic,'' Boyle said.
"Those (under-15) boys there, along with the current 16s are what we class as our next wave of seniors.''
Boyle said the junior girls program was also going exceptionally well, backed by dedicated coaches like Russell Yarrow.
"Russ is fantastic. We are so lucky to have Russ in our program,'' Boyle said of Pride's under-13 mentor.
"He bleeds green.
"Like the rest of us, it's all about giving the kids a pathway and he is passionate about that,'' Boyle said.
The Western Pride under-13 girls only lost their latest final 4-2 on penalties after another progressive season, following their grand final victory a year earlier.