Ipswich's exciting footballers to watch in 2018
FIVE young footballers with close ties to Ipswich have been promoted to Western Pride's senior men's squad for the 2018 state league season.
Dan Hall, Andy Pengelly, Alex Parsons and Salomon Lukonga have been included in the National Premier Leagues top team after making their senior debuts this year.
Matt Haspels has also secured a senior deal after his form in the under 20s earned him the Best and Fairest award at Pride's recent awards night.
Pride head coach Graham Harvey was delighted to give the youngsters a chance at a higher level.
"They have earned their right to play first team football through hard work and consistent performances," Harvey said.
"These young players are well on the path to becoming at a minimum NPL footballers."
Hall made his debut as a substitute against Moreton Bay United in July. He marked the occasion by setting up a Harry Sawyer goal.
The midfielder made six substitute appearances, scoring his first senior goal in the home win against SWQ Thunder in August.
Hall's most telling impact was being fouled late in the NPL Queensland grand final to allow Dylan Wenzel-Halls to score the winning free-kick.
Lukonga has been a consistent goal-scoring threat at every age group since joining Pride's youth program in 2014.
An early season injury crisis saw the attacker make his senior debut back in Round 3 against Olympic before going on to score against FNQ Heat and Sunshine Coast.
Pengelly and Parsons were both awarded with a pair of late-season substitute appearances after heavy goal-scoring for Pride's U20s.
Pengelly grabbed a league-high 33 goals while Parsons scored 14 goals in 13 appearances as the under 20s plus three for the U18s.
Haspels rose through the ranks at Richlands-based Brisbane Force and after a stint at Ipswich Knights joined Pride late last year.
The defender made 21 appearances for Pride's under 20 squad, which went undefeated in the last nine rounds of competition.
The quintet all have strong links to Ipswich.
Hall, Parsons, Pengelly and Haspels went through Ipswich Grammar School's football program.
Lukonga was a student at WestMac.
Harvey said it was highly rewarding to develop players from the Ipswich area.
"Quite simply giving young players from Ipswich an opportunity was the objective behind the club when it started five years ago," Harvey said.