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PFA reveals factors behind the success of Australia’s golden generation Socceroos

Australia’s golden generation featured a host of players who made a name for themselves and created football memories that will last forever.

But what were the factors that made them so successful? As part of a recent study, 17 golden generation players were interviewed to discover more about their pathways, experiences and personal journeys.

The study, called “Culture Amplifies Talent”, was undertaken by Professional Footballers Australia, with research conducted by members of Victoria University.

The main aim of the study was to uncover and confirm the contributing factors to the golden generation’s success.

As part of the interviews, ex-players spoke about their journey through youth structures and were asked to reflect on what young players of today should be doing in order to maximise their potential.

There is certainly plenty to learn from the findings.

Victoria University researchers deemed that the main factors for the golden generation’s success were passion, family, mentality, environment, practice and pathways.

The study found that golden generation players stayed at their junior club for an extended period of time before moving into the senior ranks. That move was usually made within the same club, with family adding an extra layer of support and connection.

That translated to players spending more time at clubs in unstructured soccer activities with teammates and friends, quite different to current junior players whose organised training is far more structured.

The longevity within and connectivity to junior roots played a key role in the success of the players we now label as the golden generation.

The study provides valuable insight and creates an interesting discussion as to the correct approach clubs should take when it comes to junior players.

All findings uncovered by Victoria University will be shared with clubs, federations and other stakeholders; providing much food for thought for those involved in junior development..

Originally published as: New research reveals characteristics of golden generation success

Local Sports Infrastructure Fund

The new $22 million Local Sports Infrastructure Fund is a state-wide competitive Victorian Government investment program that provides a range of grant opportunities across five funding streams.

Kate Jacewicz announced as AFF Referee of the Year (Women)

female referees A-League Football Victoria's

Leading Australian referee Kate Jacewicz has been honoured by being named the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Referee of the Year for women.

It was announced recently at the gala AFF Awards held at Hanoi in Vietnam.

Jacewicz received this award off the back of another tremendous year with the whistle, including officiating her ninth Westfield W-League Grand FInal in February 2019 between Sydney FC and Perth Glory.

Jacewicz has been recognised as the W-League referee of the year seven times and part of the 75 match officials around the world who refereed at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

It’s added to her impressive list of career achievements which also includes her making history by becoming the first female to occupy a spot on the A-League Referees Panel, helping out with both A-League and W-League matches.

In a statement by Football Federation Australia and chair of FFA Referees committee Chris Nikou, they congratulated Jacewicz on her significant achievement and her professionalism she continually shows.

“Kate is one of the world’s finest referees and thoroughly deserves this award. Whatever the game, whatever the level, she is a model of consistency and class,” Nikou said.

“Her work on the pitch is a reminder to us all just how vital referees are to the lifeblood and well-being of our game.”

Source: https://www.ffa.com.au/news/kate-jacewicz-named-aff-referee-year-women

Football has invested considerably in VAR and fans had better get used to it

Rarely a weekend of football goes by these days without a monumental kerfuffle around everyone’s favourite technological official VAR.

The weekend just passed saw Liverpool FC the beneficiary against Manchester City, when a supposedly qualified and experienced referee waved play on despite the ball appearing to strike the Red’s Trent Alexander-Arnold’s arm whilst defending in his own area.

The mysterious individuals in control of the VAR system reviewed the incident. They confirmed the on-field officials’ version of events and before City fans could hit the keyboard to let rip at the most hated aspect of modern football, Liverpool had scored at the other end.

If it wasn’t so serious, it would be comical.

Was it an important decision? Of course it was. Did it alter the outcome of the match? Who knows? What is certain is the fact that governing bodies appear to be backing the technology and their investment in it, at the expense of the integrity of the game.

The official explanation from Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) read as follows.

“The VAR checked the penalty appeal for handball against Trent Alexander-Arnold and confirmed the on-field decision that it did not meet the considerations for a deliberate handball.”  

Whilst it is always comforting for fans to receive open and transparent responses from the powers at be, this particular example borders on the absurd. Alexander-Arnold’s arm is in the most unusual of positions. In fact, try walking down the street with your arm held out in the manner in which his was and you will receive some very odd looks.

The PGMOL may wish to placate disgruntled fans with a united front that aims to quell discussion, however only the gullible will be falling for their lip service. The unnerving reality remains that the events that played out soon after kick off at Anfield on Sunday afternoon would have led to a penalty on every other day.

On this occasion, a blunder was made. Another referee, at another ground, in another country and in another league, may well have awarded the spot kick. Just a fortnight ago, Louis Fenton of the Wellington Phoenix was adjudged to have hand balled in the area and the referee pointed directly to the penalty spot.

Wellington play in the A-League, Australia’s top tier of professional football. Fenton appeased his team mates immediately, suggesting that once the footage was viewed by VAR, the decision would be reversed, as the ball had made clear contact with his chest before glancing the arm.

Whilst the footage supported Fenton’s version of events, once again, the decision stood and the player proceeded to use some rather blue and poorly chosen words in his post-game interview.

The facial expressions of those sitting on the Phoenix bench said it all, as did Pep Guardiola’s rather comical hand shaking of the officials at the completion of Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over the English champions.

Both reactions lie at the core of the issue when it comes to VAR; the perception that it is a farce and has the potential to harm football from within.

Contentious handball decisions have always brought much debate and conjecture in the game. Yet the inconsistent application of the rules that exists when the extra layer of officialdom is called upon does nothing more than breed distrust in the fans and potential illegitimacy in results.

When the Hawkeye technology currently being used in the Premier League to rule on-offside play is added to the mix, it is little wonder fans are roaring their anger from the rooftops.

It is not just the furious, one eyed supporter calling for change, despite many feeling as though their club has indeed felt the wrath of VAR. Respected players, commentators and pundits right across the globe have had enough of the trivialities of off-sides being awarded based on what appear to be the most minute of margins.

They have grown tired of incidents being reviewed for sometimes up to three or four minutes before a decision is confirmed and, like all of us, are completely bamboozled by many of the adjudications made.

Whilst it is easy for the official post-game statement to be drafted in such a way as to artificially confirm the decisions made by on-field officials, the footballing world sees well through that façade.

What chance a governing body concedes a little ground, admits to an over reliance on technology and shows the courage to downsize its role in the game? Very little I would say and that could be a dangerous path to tread.

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