User:Alex21/Football in Canberra - Elite juniors, no seniors...

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As one reviewer - and I'm sure the others who viewed - saw, my original YouTube upload had a problem once on the website. The tech guys at UC informed me it's a problem that sometimes appears when exporting files from Final Cut Pro (FCP).

The two links below are my gradual progression of the same video and trying to upload it with the help of the tech team at UC. Finally we found a decent compression that did not compromise substantial quality of the footage which was all shot by me.

Here is the FINAL LINK! BPS 2011 - AB - Football in Canberra...

I've left the below links up as I hope anybody who has the same problem can see the path I had to take and can comment on here to contact me if necessary!

I've managed to re-upload to and - from my end at least - this one works!

Here's the link - Football in Canberra: Elite juniors, no seniors...

Just be patient as it is a large file.

BROKEN LINK YouTube link to story...

Football in Canberra - Elite juniors, no seniors


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.

Talent Key

GVE - Gary van Egmond (Former coach - AIS Football)
AB - Alex Belperio (Presenter)
MP - Mark Pepper (Program manager - AIS Football)
HR - Heather Reid (Capital Football CEO)



Canberra has become home to some massive football identities over the past two years.

Football Federation Australia’s importing of world-class Dutch coaches has changed the way Australia’s young footballers are being developed and it is done here in the capital…

In preparing the Joeys, our under seventeen national team, for international competition, Holland’s influence has seen Australian football restructure itself.


GVE “Everything as far as the nationals are starting to go younger at the under 13 and under 14s now, state institutes are looking at the under 15 age group and we’re obviously looking at the Joeys, which usually we start to get in at under 16s and if we see something that’s out of the box, we’ll bring them in a year early.”

That change in picking up younger footballers is largely thanks to Dutchman, Jan Versleijen, who was bought in to oversee the AIS football program and our youth international teams.

Previously the coach of Holland’s under seventeen and twenty-three teams, his experience is not only teaching players, but also the best local coaches, like Gary van Egmond.

GVE “Working with Jan has been a real eye-opener for myself to see how a top European coach operates and being able to utilise and pick the areas of what he does.”

The major issue in Verslejien’s appointment brings up the past… in years gone by it was Australian coaches like Ron Smith who were in leading roles like that given to the Dutchman, but what do those involved think about the fact that local coaches are being passed up in favour of foreigners?

GVE “I think it’s been very good that we’ve had an overseas influence, whether it be Dutch, whether it be German, whether it be South American.”

“For me it’s important that we gain information and what we need to do is to ensure that the information that we gain from the overseas coaches is then given to coaches here in Australia and of course identifying coaches who ca start to implement what they see as being the right way in playing football.”

AB "Despite preparing these kids to take on the world, the ACT is struggling to keep young stars as they finish institute scholarships… the capital needs an A-League team for that to change."

MP “I think the ability to expose young footballers to A-League locally would be great.”

“At the moment – not to undersell the standard of the premier league here – but realistically, these boys are all national-level players.” With scholarship holders settled in Canberra after a couple of years at the institute, an A-League team would make the city a logical long-term home for Australia’s best young footballers.

It is something that Canberran football figures have wanted for a long time.

HR “It’s been on the cards since the demise of the old National Soccer League, I guess.”

“Canberra participated in that league with the Canberra Cosmos and when Football Federation Australia started to go through its own review and restructure process, one of the first things that they had on the books was to not only have the Socceroos qualify for Germany at that stage, but also resurrect the very strong, vibrant national league and a lot of talk around Canberra at that time focused on the need to have a Canberra presence in that new national league… so we’re probably talking at least five or six years ago.”

“Then when FFA announced the composition of the new national league and Canberra was left out, people then went into – to some extent a bit of panic mode – and also emotional mode saying we have to have a tem in the A-League.”

Unfortunately joining the competition does not look like happening anytime soon with Canberra’s A-League case not funded with sufficient financial support.

It all comes down to the money…

Local businessmen have seen the lure of bringing national football to Canberra at the senior level, with TransACT CEO Ivan Slavich the leader of the city’s A-League bid…

Politics don’t just involve businessmen, but the government also needs to support the bid…

HR “The minimum buy-in for an A-League team in the early years of the A-League was around about four million… that’s pretty much doubled now.”

“The shortfall for the number of memberships that are there for foundation members, as well as the shortfall in community funding, through the various private sponsors that are there, I don’t think it’s anywhere near even six million.”

“I think Ivan Slavich and the team might be able to get together, perhaps, four million dollars or five million dollars; they would need an injection of probably two million from the ACT government, which was promised as start-up funding.”

“There was 2.5 million targeted for an A-League team from Canberra… I don’t think you’ll see that in the budget figures going forward.”

Slavich himself tries to push the issue with Football Federation Australia, which is not always easy…

HR “Ivan has meetings with the minister for sport as well as FFA.”

“I think you’ll find that he’s been quite frustrated by the last 12 months, the process unfolding, and events over the last 12-18 months.”

“He’s kind of been led to believe, at various stages, that we’ve had a very good shot at being in the A-League.” Every major football league in the world features at least one side from its capital city in its national football competition… however, in Australia – despite all Canberra does for footballers coming out of every other state and territory in the nation – that is not happening soon.

HR “The question in terms of the likelihood of Canberra being admitted to the A-League in the future, I think it’s very bleak, a very bleak response… certainly not for at the next three maybe even five years.” There has been talk of an eventual team in Western Sydney, a local area in which FFA wants to ensure it doesn’t lose ground on rivals, although that hurts Canberra, Reid understands why it may be done…

HR “I can understand from a strategic point of view that it’s important for Sydney to have a second team… I’m not sure if it’s relevant to have it happen from 2012 but strategically, given the population, given the incursion of an AFL team in that area, given the growth of rugby league etc, we need to have a football presence there.”

“There are hundreds of thousands of kids playing our football in western Sydney and they want a team in their own right I guess.” If the A-League bid does one day come to fruition… at a local level, different ethnic backgrounds need to come together, as happened with the demise of Adelaide City in the old national soccer league.

City was of Italian background, so when it became defunct, Adelaide United was born in an attempt to bring all cultures together… today Adelaide is one of the strongest franchises in the A-League. Canberra must do the same – and the commitment needs to be there too.

HR “We need to galvanise various elements of our community, and that – quite frankly – means that we’ve got to get the clubs that are backed by the Croatians, the Greeks, the Italians, the poms; the whole community has to buy in to an A-League for Canberra team.”

“So we can’t have one group sitting outside of the tent saying ‘we’ll wait until we get the team in the league, then we’ll put forward our money’… we need and Ivan Slavich and the A-League consortium itself needs that commitment now up-front.”

“Whether it’s coming from, as I said, the Croatian builders, the Italian people who own the restaurants, or the Greeks who own property… all of those elements of our community, where we know there are substantial amounts of money, they need to come together and put that money on the table.” It becomes a bitter pill to swallow when the hope of even a National Youth League side seems out of reach…

HR “We know from recent discussions with FFA that even getting a team in the National Youth League isn’t going to happen for the next three to five years.”

“That’s very, very disappointing – more disappointing from Capital Football’s point of view because we need to have a bridge between our current premier league structure and the A-League… and try and keep the young lads here in Canberra rather than send them off to other National Youth League or A-League clubs.”

AB What do you believe having an A-League side here would do for the local football community in Canberra?

HR “There’s no doubt it would add a tremendous level of impetus to our football.”

“We’d be able to complete quite clearly for media and public attention along with the Raiders and the Brumbies, who dominate the media largely because of the media interests themselves in those two codes.”

“But in terms of what we could do for the generations of the future, the boys in particular would be able to see that’s where they want to get to… they want to play for their local club, whether it’s Majura or Belwest or whatever, and aim to be part of Canberra United in the national league.”

“It gives inspiration, it gives hope and, of course, it keeps a focus within the local community as well.”


On an international level, Canberra is huge for Australian football.

It is where the best youngsters come to play and where the re-structure of FFA’s coaching system has sent world class coaches to implement change in the production line of future Socceroos.

Van Egmond has no doubt about Canberra’s football set-up, as well as what the city would offer an A-League franchise and the youngsters at the AIS.

GVE “Obviously being here at the Australian Institute of Sport being able open a number of different areas which we normally would not get open to like physiology and biomechanics – these types of areas.”

“There’s definitely some benefits and some synergies that Canberra can get from being part of the Australian Institute of Sport and namely the fact that you have the best young talent coming here and you would be in the box seat to try and get some of that talent to actually play for your A-League club.”

“Secondly, young players here can benefit from training in a first-grade environment.”

“It’s one thing being here at the Australian Institute of Sport and getting the coaching but, again, it’s another thing playing and being in a training environment with a higher intensity.”

“So that would be a very, very good mix for these young players coming through and, again, would add to their development, and their earlier development in getting into A-League clubs.” Until Canberra competes in Australia’s premier senior football competition, it will have to be content with producing elite footballers to send off elsewhere.


Final YouTube link -

Archive.Org video link -

Broken YouTube video -

All images credited.

All footage shot by and property of Alex Belperio (C).