Football in Canberra - Elite juniors, no seniors...
Overview[edit | edit source]
On an international level, Canberra is crucial to Australian football. As home to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Canberra has played home to many players that have gone on to forge strong international careers both at club level and with the Socceroos. However, on a local level, even that success does not seem to be enough to convince Football Federation Australia (FFA) to allow the city an A-League franchise.
With no team in the country’s top competition, Canberra is struggling to keep talented young footballers, despite becoming home to them and playing a major role in their professional athletic development. Quite simply, after the short-term nature of their AIS contracts, there is nowhere to go in Canberra for aspiring professional footballers.
There would be if the city had an A-League team.
All this is despite the fact some of the best mentors and developers in Australian football are based in the capital. Unfortunately, the situation does not look like changing anytime soon, despite the efforts of the local football federation, Capital Football, and some ambitious Canberrans. Imported coaches have taught some of the best Australian coaches, including A-League championship-winning mentor, Gary van Egmond.
Until recently, van Egmond was the right-hand-man to Jan Versleijen, the Dutchman who was imported to guide Australia’s best young talent.
Van Egmond recently returned to his old job as coach of the Newcastle Jets in the A-League, but earlier in the year had his say on the AIS as well as Canberran football and its future.