In the recent 23-player Joeys squad named by Tony Vidmar for the AFF U15 Championship, just eight footballers came from teams outside the A-League, and half of these were Marconi players.

That is an equal-largest representation in personnel from a single club within a national team (Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers also contributed four players to the squad). It matches the four Joeys selected from Marconi in 2017, as well as two selected in 2016, highlighting ongoing success from Marconi’s youth program. Similarly impressive, two players in the last three years have represented the Young Socceroos.

The club’s Technical Director, James Lambert, suggests that an emphasis on individual development within a clear team model and style of play is fundamental to this success.

Lambert and Program Coordinator Klaus Okon have ensured the club has consistency across all teams in not only style of play, but coaching delivery, session design and matchday approach. Lambert firmly believes that the Marconi program is “evidence that sticking to a process has successful outcomes”, but emphasises that this is a six-year process so far and still ongoing.

Watching a Marconi game, you would get the impression that this process originated from the infamous National Curriculum, equally beloved and beleaguered in youth development programs across Australia. Marconi’s style of play is based upon effective possession, high pressing and clever combination play - three of the key pillars underpinning the desired Australian way of playing.

Yet Lambert suggests that the Marconi style of play pre-dates the national curriculum, stemming instead from their experienced program coach's knowledge and beliefs. He credits the knowledge and beliefs of experienced football people within the club as the pivotal moment in the development of Marconi’s philosophy.

Lambert believes that Marconi’s clearly defined style of play has particularly paid dividends because of the national shift towards similar playing philosophies.

“Marconi players fit into the Joeys, because the Joeys have a similar playing style, but we don’t have this playing style because of that,” he says. “We play this way because the contributing coaching staff have significant experience and history in football, and believe it is the right way to play.”

A common argument against clubs that adhere to a singular way of playing is that it produces cookie-cutter footballers. However, Marconi’s coaches are given freedom to alter the model according to player attributes. While the base formation - a 4-3-3 with one 6 - is always the same, they believe this system allows coaches to create different positional roles that suit the players available. For example, a striker that might prefer receiving passes to feet can be accommodated as a false 9 within the Marconi team model, even if the model suits the profile of a 9 who runs in behind.