Despite doom and gloom around the A-League, a fresh group of teens across the league are poised to inject a shot of charisma and talent to next season’s competition.
And guess what?
Finally, younger local players will get more A-League game time in 2021.
Because the A-League will be a stripped-down version.
Renegotiated player contracts, fewer imports, and more reliance on cost-effective talent.
This means A-League coaches - many of them Australian - will be scouring academies and NPLs for teenage talents to fill the breach.
And good news.
There’s young talent out there.
What’s more, these teens are building a new audience of A-League fans across social media with a fresh take on the world of professional football.
Some we had a glimpse of last season and some are ready to step up in 2021.
That’s why there’s a buzz over these teens ahead of the next A-League.
Who knows where these teen rising stars will end up?
But for now, they’re in the A-League.
Club: Adelaide United
And it was thrilling.
This season, with that experience, expect Toure to take his game to another level under new Reds gaffer Carl Veart.
In fact, there’s a youth revolution happening in Adelaide.
It’s exciting to see unfold as the side reinvents itself following the departure of some big names, such as Riley McGree.
Mohamed Toure, his brother Al Hassan, Louis D’Arrigo, Dominic Costanzo, Noah Smith, and Pacifique Niyongabire are just six of the younger faces coming through.
And it’s Mo who has that X-factor.
Little wonder his social accounts are buzzing.
Like A-League player of the year Alino Diamanti, Toure is bringing new fans to the league via Instagram.
The fans are loving his journey.
And Australia could have a future star for its national teams.
Like the NSL, now is the time for young players to get that vital experience in a senior environment.
Develop then sell local players on for a profit.
It’s not rocket science.
And this crop of Reds could generate good profits for United in years to come.
For now, Toure and Co should be a thrilling ride for fans.
Club Melbourne City
Melbourne City have a habit of attracting the cream of youth talent (think Daniel Arzani).
Along with Adelaide, it’s the place to be if you're a talented teen with ambition.
And after Abdulahi’s eye-catching debut in 2019, you’d fancy this stylish midfielder to step up.
Bustling Matty Simon off the ball on his debut showed Abdulahi’s grit matches his skills.
These skills were on show at the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil last October.
Can Abdulahi go on to the Olyroos and Socceroos?
This coming season gives Abdulahi a chance to play more minutes.
He’s good enough.
FTBL rates him.
In fact, there’s a quartet of teens pushing through at City.
Born in 2004, Bernardo Oliviera is the son of former A-League great and Adelaide United hero Cassio.
And there's Raphael Borges and Emin Durakovic (son of former Socceroo Mehmet).
With a core group of experienced professionals at City, the likes of Abdulahi can only benefit next season.
Club: Wellington Phoenix
Position: attacking midfielder
Sarpreet Singh. Libby Cacace. Callum McCowatt.
We’re in the throes of a Kiwi youth development revolution.
And it’s Wellington Phoenix the prime beneficiaries as shown over the previous two rollickingly exciting seasons in the A-League.
Now, according to doyen of New Zealand football Jason Pine, next cab off the Kiwi prodigy-teen sensation rank is another academy product.
"A tenacious, attacking midfielder with an assured first touch, good vision, rare football intelligence and excellent technical ability, Sutton was spotted by Ufuk Talay shortly after the new coach arrived at the Phoenix last year,” Pine, who also commentates A-League games in New Zealand, has been quoted as saying.
"After watching him play for the Academy side just once, Talay fast-tracked Sutton into the first-team environment."
Sutton grew up on Auckland’s North Shore and played his early football for the East Coast Bays club.
Phoenix’s Academy Director Paul Temple first saw him play as a 12-year-old and convinced Sutton to come to Wellington two years later, with the Sutton clan relocating to the capital, reports Pine.
Sutton idolises Singh.
Will he follow in his footsteps to Europe?
Time will tell.
But for now, enjoy the latest Phoenix teen to rip it up in the A-League.
Club: Central Coast Mariners
Shepparton’s finest on the A-League stage.
We got a brief taste of the Kuol charisma last season.
The African-born striker racked up the views with his brilliantly off-the-cuff post-match interview with Fox after his starting debut in January.
He’s a talented striker, though.
Under the guidance of Mariners great and now the club’s youth coach Nick Montgomery, Kuol has flourished since arriving in 2019.
And he helped the Mariners win the NSW NPL 2 trophy last weekend.
Kuol shone up top and got on the scoresheet.
In fact, Central Coast won both the U20s and senior NPL titles.
This demonstrates the club has a rich teenage talent pipeline ready to excite fans on the Coast.
And leading the way for the new generation of Mariners is Kuol.
He was scouted by FTBL over a year ago, after his mentor, former Wimbledon striker Craig Carley helped give Kuol first-team football in Victoria's NPL when he was just 15.
Club: Newcastle Jets
Two seasons ago, the then 17-year-old become the third youngest ever Jets debutant.
He came on for the final 20 minutes in a 6-1 thrashing of Brisbane Roar.
Simmons was taking his HSC at St Francis Xavier's College when he first appeared for the Jets A-League side.
The Kotara South Tigers junior is tipped to have a breakthrough season in 2021, now that he’s completed his schooling and has two seasons in and around the senior side.
Simmons has been playing in Newcastle's youth team in the Northern NSW NPL since he was 15 years old. And under former UK professional Carl Robinson, there’s no better mentor for this Aussie teenager.
Club: Western United
Duzel arrived in the United camp at the start of last season on a scholarship deal.
And almost immediately the central midfielder was off to Brazil with the Joeys.
That international trip, albeit limited game time, was a good learning experience.
The guidance he gained throughout the season saw “Duza” begin to shine by season’s end.
His confidence is growing on the ball.
And with a developing physique, this skillful former Melbourne City midfielder could really step up next season at the Green and Black.
Expect Duzel Jnr (his Dad Ivan played NSL football) to flourish under Mark Rudan and his coaching team's guidance.
Club: Central Coast Mariners
What an outstanding prospect.
And an outstanding leader.
Skipper Hall led the Mariners to an imperious 6-2 win in their weekend grand final victory. And he was rewarded for a regal performance with the Player of the Game medal by FNSW.
The A-League youngsters also won the league and were superbly led by Hall, the club's Y-League player of the year.
Hall, signed from Queensland in 2018, was also an NPL player of the year.
Club: Melbourne Victory
Barnett, 19, moved south from Brisbane Roar’s youth set-up in 2019.
And it’s paid dividends with experience in last season’s A-League and ACL.
Clearly, new Victory coach Grant Brebner rates him.
Barnett is one of a clutch of youngsters who were given a good run during the A-League’s return in July and August.
Brebner has re-signed Barnett as he looks to reinvigorate the A-League behemoth.
Expect to see more of Barnett and a host of talented youngsters this season.
And with experienced pros such as Calum McManaman joining Brebner’s revolution, Barnett and Co will be able to accelerate their learning.
Club: Brisbane Roar
There’s a lot to like about teenage Trewin.
Trewin has played in central defence for the youth national teams.
But the former AIS student can also play as a six.
He’s technical, has a good attitude and work-rate.
He’s had a taste of senior football over the last year.
Expect to see more of Kai Trewin next season in Brisbane.
Club: Perth Glory
Born in 2004, Rawlins has been on the fringes of Glory all while still in school.
In fact, as a 15-year-old, he debuted against Manchester United in their 2019 friendly.
Another of the Joeys to play at the World Cup in Brazil, Rawlins was named in the club’s ACL squad.
Now, under new coach Richard Garcia, can Rawlins convert his potential into minutes in the senior side?