Australia’s U-16 national team, the Joeys, flew out from Sydney on Tuesday for three high-profile international clashes in Florida as they build towards next year’s U-17 FIFA World Cup in Chile.
FIA’s Christian Verbi is among the group of youngsters coached by Tony Vidmar that will take on Brazil, England and host nation, USA, over three group games starting on Saturday (AEDT).
Technical Director of the FFA Centre of Excellence at the AIS Peter de Roo has described the Nike International Friendlies and Development Academy Winter Showcase as vital preparation for the Aussies.
While beating some of the world’s leading nations is a huge carrot for the Joeys, de Roo is adamant it won’t come at the cost of jeopardizing the team’s philosophy.
“Football is ultimately about winning games,” de Roo said.
“We want to win but never at the expense of how we want to play.
“If we play how we want to then I’m sure the results will come with that. We’re not going to America to grind out results, that’s not what we’re about.
“We’re about playing football to help us win and also developing players for the A-League and also future internationals (for the Socceroos). And that’s what I think we have in this group.”
Asked what the he hoped the team would get out of these three tough matches, de Roo said: “International experience at the top level is what these boys need. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity.
“This is great international exposure and we’ll be able to see where we’re at and then have 10 months to see where we can improve and what we can work on before the World Cup.”
Australian fans will be able to watch every minute of the Joeys’ three matches, with all games of the five-day tournament shown live on www.ussoccer.com.
The Joeys qualified for next year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Chile after downing Malaysia 2-1 in a pulsating quarter final at the AFC U-16 Championships in Thailand in September.
Malcolm WARD (Defender), Henry DAVIES (Defender), Zac SPETH (Defender), Joe CALETTI (Midfielder), Daniel MASKIN (Midfielder), Daniel ARZANI (Midfielder), Panos ARMENAKAS (Midfielder), Jamie DIMITROFF (Midfielder), Peter KEKERIS (Attacker), Brandon OSIPOV (GK), Christian VERBI (Defender), Solomon MONAHAN-VAIIKA (Defender), Jackson BANDIERA (Defender), Danny KIM (Defender), Nicholas PANETTA (Midfielder), James DELIANOV (GK), Perry FOTAKOPOULOS (Defender), Cameron JOICE (Attacker), Kosta PETRATOS (Attacker), Marc TOKICH (Midfielder).
Friday, November 28
Australia v Brazil, 3pm (ET)
USA v England, 6pm (ET)
Sunday, November 30
Brazil v England, 3pm (ET)
USA v Australia, 6pm (ET)
Tuesday, December 2
England v Australia, 3pm (ET)
USA v Brazil, 6pm (ET)
Note there is a 16-hour time difference between Florida and AEDT.
This article first appeared on footballaustralia.com.au.