One of the highlights of the previous A-League season was the emergence of many young players lighting up the competition and getting rare regular game-time.
Alou Koul. Marco Tillio. Dylan Wenzal-Halls. Dylan Pierias. Carlo Armiento. Archie Goodwin. The list goes on and on and on.
For years we had been starved of opportunities for youngsters to shine. Now, Covid-caused or not, we are seeing more and rookies impressing and given chances.
Season 2021-2022 should be no different. There is plenty of teenage talent ready to be unleashed across the competition.
So here's five to keep an eye out for this season:
1. ADAM ZIMARINO
Striker Adam Zimarino has been making a name for himself in Perth Glory's youth team. The 19-year-old has been scoring goals for fun and is poised for an A-League debut this season. This year in the NPL Western Australia he has managed 12 goals in 23 matches, the fifth most in the comp, scoring eight in 16 appearances last year. The Balcatta FC product has been training with Glory's first-team during pre-season and could offer some firepower in the months ahead.
Cool, calm, composed. It’s Adam Zimarino. pic.twitter.com/n7M5DBLUfU— FNX Sports (@FNXsports) August 17, 2020
2. EDMOND LUPANCU
Defender Lupancu is entering his fourth year at Melbourne Victory after joining from South Melbourne. A midfielder turned centre back, the 19-year-old spent some of his youth in France and previously trialled with Ligue1 club Montepellier. Able to play in the centre or at left back, Lupancu is of Romanian heritage and has been training regularly with Tony Popovic's first-team squad. At 189 centimetres tall Lupancu is a big and versatile unit who is expected to make his debut this campaign.
From central midfield to a versatile defender, Edmond Lupancu continues to evolve under Victory's coaches #MVFC— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) August 15, 2021
3. JONNY YULL
Sixteen-year-old midfielder Yull earned two A-League appearances for Adelaide last season. His first taste of action came in January off the bench against Perth, and he was then brought on late against Macarthur in April. The teenager was the third youngest Reds player to make his senior debut, and in June he signed a scholarship contract with the South Australian oufit. England-born Yull came through the West Torrens Birkalla youth ranks and FFSA's National Training Centre. A goal-scoring midfielder, he has stood out in the NPL SA.
The Young Reds earned a valuable point against Adelaide Olympic on the weekend with Jonny Yull on the scoresheet once again.— Adelaide United (@AdelaideUnited) August 30, 2021
Reserves 1-1 Adelaide Olympic
🎥: @FootballSouthAu pic.twitter.com/uO6Szko7mK
4. CYRUS DEHMIE
Centre forward Dehmie is one who may make waves at Brisbane this season. The Ivory Coast-born striker made his A-League debut last season and racked up six appearances for the Roar. Brisbane boss Warren Moon coached him at schoolboy level and rates him highly. Raw, strong and pacy, Dehmie thrived in the NPL over the past 12 months and in May signed his first professional deal. Big things are expected of the Liberian refugee.
Cyrus Dehmie with the pick of the goals as @AcademyBRFC secured their first ever #NPLQLD finals berth with a 5-0 win over Magpies Crusaders over the weekend!— National Premier Leagues (@NPLAustralia) October 13, 2021
🎥 @npltv / @FootballQLD pic.twitter.com/eymAZaDXUE
5. NESTOR IRANKUNDA
The youngest of the bunch at just 15, Irankunda signed a scholarship contract with Adelaide United last month. The winger is a noted goal-poacher who has been banging them in for Adelaide's youth and reserves sides, as well as at junior level. Originally from Burundi, with fast feet and excellent dribbling skills, Irankunda is the latest cab off the rank in the Reds' much vaunted production line.