Australia launches U-20 men's scholarship program

Australian Institute of Sport has launched its 2007 AIS Men’s Football program with 25 scholarships for Australia’s finest junior footballing talent. "The AIS, through the partnership between the Australian Sports Commission and Football Federation Australia continues to help strengthen Australian football through the development of talented young athletes," AIS Director, Professor Peter Fricker said. "The Institute’s proud record of preparing players for national and international representation is testimony to the quality of the program. Last year’s Socceroos World Cup squad of 23 players contained 12 former AIS scholarship holder. International players such as Mark Viduka, Craig Moore, Ned Zelic, Brett Emerton, Lucas Neil, Mark Bresciano, Josh Kennedy and Vince Grella are just a few of the players who have come through the AIS Football program."

The current group of AIS scholarship holders are likely to form the majority of the Young Socceroo team that will attempt to qualify for the 2009 FIFA World Youth Cup and head coach of the AIS Men’s Football squad, Steve O’Connor, said he was excited by the level of talent. "The current squad has great depth with players demonstrating the physical and technical qualities required to be successful at international level. All of our scholarship holders are eligible to be selected in the Australian U-20 squad, which will be announced later in the year. The continued support of the AIS and the ASC is a critical component in the development of Australian men’s football," he said.

The current AIS Football squad, which competes in the Victorian Premier League, is made up of players born in 1989/90. The 2007 AIS/Australian Men’s Football Squad is Laurence Braude, James Brown, Matthew Harper, James Holland, Marko Jesic, Matthew Jurman, Jason Naidovski, Andrew Redmayne and Sebastian Ryall from NSW; Milos Lujic, Bonel Obradovic and Matthew Theodore from Victoria; Luke De Vere, Tahj Minniecon, Stefan Vrbesic and Jerrad Tyson from Queensland; Alex Sunasky, Mathew Mullen and Daniel Mullen from South Australia; and Domenic Giampaolo and Dane Milovanovic from the ACT.