SPAIN TOUR: The Southern Downs Football Academy team (back, from left) Harry McMahon, Salou coach Marc Miquel, Declan Clegg, Lachlan Montgomery, (front) Joel Keevers, Mel Reedy, Boula Kairouz, Chloe Gaske, Jack Reedy, Hayden Gaske, Kweller and Percy Manfield at Salou field near Barcelona during last year's tour to Spain.
SPAIN TOUR: The Southern Downs Football Academy team (back, from left) Harry McMahon, Salou coach Marc Miquel, Declan Clegg, Lachlan Montgomery, (front) Joel Keevers, Mel Reedy, Boula Kairouz, Chloe Gaske, Jack Reedy, Hayden Gaske, Kweller and Percy Manfield at Salou field near Barcelona during last year's tour to Spain. Contributed

Five make it to national level with Southern Downs Academy

FOOTBALL: Five players from the Southern Downs Football Academy will be aligned with National Premier League clubs in the 2019 season.

Coaching director Tim Gaske said the academy has had four boys selected at U9, U12 and U15 levels to play for South West Thunder in the National Premier League.

"One boy from the academy is part of the Gold Coast United NPL U11 team,” Gaske said.

"We also have shadow NPL players who will play club football if not required for the national league games.”

Last year, a team from the SDFA toured Spain and saw the headquarters for two of the world's most famous clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Gaske said the academy was a training provider.

"We train at the grounds of the Warwick District Football Association at Queens Park,” Gaske said.

"Our players can play in the Warwick or Toowoomba competitions.”

The Southern Downs Football Academy will field under 16/17, U14/15, U13, U12, U11 and possibly U10 teams in the Toowoomba competition under the banner of the USQ FC this season.

"Matt Proctor is technical director of USQ FC and will help with training,” Gaske said.

"The academy will guide the players in the direction they want to go, whether to club or representative teams or into the professional system.”

As the SDFA is not an association, it can field club teams under the umbrella of another club or association only.

Proctor is undertaking his FFA A licence and has completed his FFA level 1 goalkeeper licence.

"I have been helping to develop the players and coaches at SDFA. In that time, SDFA players have been identified by professional clubs which shows that the talent is there and that it is being nurtured by the coaches,” Proctor said.

Academy training times are each Monday and Thursday at Queens Park.

Players in U14 and U17 age groups will start training on January 17 in a 5pm-6.30pm session and more players are welcome.

The first training session for the U12/13 age group will be on February 11 at Queens Park while younger age groups will attend their first training session on February 25 at 5pm.

"Last year, we had 90 academy members and are aiming for 100 this year,” he said.

SDFA plans this season include a three-day camp in Warwick under Barcelona coaches in July. Information from Gaske on 0434211441.



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