In a major move under its youth development program, the NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers has signed two promising young players to the club for the next two seasons, it was announced today.
The talented midfielders have been hand-picked by coach Tony Popovic for intensive daily development training with the Wanderers senior squad.
Creative ball player Josh Barresi, 18, has been signed on a senior contract for the remainder of the current competition and the next two Hyundai A-League seasons.
The exciting attacking-midfielder has been at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for the past 18 months after a two-year stint with the South Australian Sports Institute. He played his junior football for the Croydon Kings in Adelaide.
Wanderers National Youth League Captain Yianni Perkatis has also committed to the club until the end of the 2014/15 Hyundai A-League season.
Perkatis, who turns 19 on Friday, joined the Wanderers from the AIS and has been training with the senior squad since the pre-season in July. He represented Australia in the Under 17 FIFA World Cup in Mexico in 2011 and played his junior football in Western Sydney, most recently with Blacktown City.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said the club would be looking to the future by promoting more youngsters through the club’s youth side.
“We have short, medium and long term goals and we will be looking to the future at every opportunity,” Popovic said.
“In our first season we hastily put together a youth side but we will take more time in the future to identify and develop young players that fit into the style and culture of the football club that we are creating.”
Popovic said Barresi was a talented and versatile young player with good skills.
“He is a big boy but he is still physically developing and he has great technique,” Popovic said.
“We look forward to working with him and slowly building him up to the speed of training every day and being a professional.”
Barresi said he did not hesitate when he got the phone call from Popovic.
“Ever since day one I have looked at the club and what they have going on and thought ‘that is what I want to be a part of’,” Barresi said.
Popovic said Perkatis was developing nicely into a competent midfielder and had come a long way since the pre-season.
“Yianni has developed well with us this year and we think there is more to come,” Popovic said.
“With all round skills and a good passing range, he is comfortable on the ball and is capable of controlling the midfield.”
Perkatis said he was proud to sign for the long term.
“I want to commit to the Wanderers because I have grown up in the Western Sydney community,” Perkatis said.
“It is tough but I enjoy coming to training every day and it is good for my development as a young player training with the professionals and learning from the coaching staff.”
for the club to start looking at the future and the development of young players across the board.
“The starting point for that, in what will over time become a major talent identification and development program, is the introduction of talented youth players into our senior squad,” Gorman said.
“This is not only just rewards for the efforts of players like Yianni and Josh but also a very strong message by our club to aspirational young players that there is a strong future for them at the Wanderers.”