A packed Coplicks when Gold Coast United hosted the Knights in August at Coplicks (Luke Ireland / Sports Gold Coast)
Year two for Gold Coast United with much on-going progress on and off the park. Season 2019 began with a bang for the club with Coplick Family Sports Park (North) confirmed as our new home. Some quality improvements have already been made to Coplicks with more to come on the park and across this fantastic facility in Tallebudgera in the coming months.
After much success for our SAP Academy in 2018 the club was granted Gold Star status for season 2019, doubling the number of SAP Boys squads and swelling the club’s ranks to 21 teams competing in the National Premier Leagues Queensland and SAP competitions with over 325 players in its ranks.
In the community, Gold Coast United, in conjunction with the Palm Beach Sharks, established an Accessible Football Program that runs on the first Sunday of every month offering players of all abilities the opportunity to take part in the beautiful game. The club also held its inaugural Pink Day in August raising over $1,500 for cancer research and awareness.
On the field all squads performed with distinction in 2019 with our first senior NPL title secured by the U18 Girls and eight of our eleven NPL squads still vying for honors in the upcoming finals series, there is much to celebrate football wise.
At an individual level a stack of United players have impressed for school, region and state but the standout for the club and for Gold Coast football was the selection of Jack Pirone to represent the Joeys.
Gold Coast United U15 player, Jack Pirone, selected to represent Australia in 2019
Behind the scenes a band of dedicated staff and tireless volunteers continue to work hard to provide the best possible environment to encourage young players to achieve their potential and to that end the club continues to invest in attracting the best possible coaches to the club to facilitate this.
United have already locked-in the cream of the 2019 coaching crop for season 2020. Technical Director, Craig Midgley, has confirmed the re-signing of Men’s coach Kristian Rees and his assistant Matt Osman, both former Gold Coast United A-League players.
U20’s coach John Murphy has also re-committed to the club taking on an expanded role as Head of Senior Men’s Football in 2020, with a increased focus on working more closely with all senior coaches to identify individuals with potential and provide them with enhanced coaching programs.
With more 2020 coaching announcements imminent, the club is in very good hands moving forward.
On the junior NPL front, United’s four NPL Boys’ squads (U13 – U16) are all involved in finals’ football. The U13 Girls fly the flag on the junior female side, the U15’s bow out after their final catch-up game this weekend.
At the senior female level both the Women and U18 Girls feature in the NPLW finals series. A highlight was the U18’s claiming the club’s first senior NPL title on the final day of the regular season with six of that squad gaining first team experience in 2019 including Anabelle Gibson, Reese Donnelly, Paige Taylor, Claudia Danckert, Ryleigh Saunderson and Amy Langworthy.
The U18 Girls claimed the club’s first senior NPL title in 2019 (Kelly Donnelly)
The Men finished in sixth place on the NPL ladder having secured their place in the 2020 competition as early as Rd19. In a season of two halves, the Men bounded out of the gates with a blistering start which was overshadowed a little by a lack-lustre back end, cruelled by injury to key personnel. A creditable season none the less with the shining light being the opportunity for thirteen youth players to gain valuable minutes at the pointy end, including Trad Thelwall, Harrison Lister, Dominic Morosini, Lachlan & Dylan Remmers, Xavier Sproule, Tim & Ben Lahiff, Charlie Frentz, Travis Taylor, Jarrah Hall-Hart, Ryan Mudaliar and Josh Dearn.
Some of the 13 Youth players who gained valuable first team experience in 2019 (Sportspics)
The Youth Men (U20’s) are still in the finals’ mix so the season continues for John Murphy’s squad. Brad Robinson’s U18 Boys stormed home late but miss final’s football, this squad was one of the big improvers for 2019 with several players benefiting from the club’s ‘youth first’ policy and getting a taste at a higher level.
Beyond the NPL program the Gold Coast United Academy continues to impress with much work being done establishing programs for younger players both inside and outside the club’s own NPL and SAP ranks. The Club’s ten SAP squads have all impressed in their competitions – United’s eight Boys and two Girls squads have all performed at a high level across a long season.
The focus on developing relationships with community clubs and schools continues to involve the club with growing the game at the grassroots. United’s four Talent Centers – Musgrave, Robina, Tweed & Ballina – continue to provide opportunities for 7 to 12 year olds the chance to train with GCU coaches one night a week outside of their usual community club training commitments. A pleasing outcome from this initiative was the ‘graduation’ of several 2018 Talent Center players into the 2019 SAP program proper and the emergence of a very classy U8 Boys squad who swept all before them in several tournaments.
GCU’s U8’s, made up from the club’s four talent centres, had a successful season, taking out both the Premier Invitational and Logan Cups (photo supplied)
United’s off-shore focus also grew in 2019 with the U15 Boys making their second appearance in the Korea U-15 International Football Tournament and the U18 Girls representing the region in the Hiroshima Women’s International Youth Soccer Games in Japan. Both trips were a success on and off the park with Gold Coast United honored to take part and keen to continue its association with these tournaments and grow its profile in the South-East Asian region.
The future looks very bright and remains in very good hands with United’s highly accredited and experienced coaches delivering quality programs across the club and to many young players outside as well through our School Affiliates program which includes associations with Palm Beach Currumbin State High; Somerset College, Ballina Combined High School and the newly established Queensland Football School.
Much to be proud of in season 2019 and much more to look forward to with the NPL finals kicking-off this weekend, the 2019 Presentation night just around the corner on Friday the 13th of September, followed by the official opening of Coplicks on Saturday the 21st of September.