Byron Bay FC launch Far North Coast’s first High Performance Program

Byron Bay FC Lismore Thistles U12s 2017.jpg

Byron Bay Football Club has become the first regional club in New South Wales to establish a high performance program as it launches its new elite program for next season.

The new model is the first of its kind outside the big cities and is modelled on the A-League Academy programs run by clubs such as Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC.

In a Far North Coast first, youth coaches at Byron Bay will sign contracts worth up to $2,000 with Byron Bay looking to attract the regions’ best coaches to work with players aged 13 to 16.

Byron Bay will run a number of teams in its High Performance Program with both boys and girls catered for: these teams will provide a development pathway not only to Byron’s Summer Youth League and senior teams, but also to NPL and A-League clubs in the cities.

Chris Layland, Byron Bay Youth Technical Director, said the program had been put together following research and consultation with A-League Academy and NPL coaches in Sydney.

“We want to help identify and develop talented players in the Far North Coast and help them on their way to becoming professional footballers,” explained Layland.

“Players from the country are born with the same talent and potential as city kids but lack the opportunity and high-performance coaching that youth needs to make it on the big stage.”

It is an exciting development for both Byron Bay and the Far North Coast region which will help grow the talent pool in the region and increase Far North Coast player representation in tournaments such as FFA National Youth Championships.

Layland, who recently won the U13 National Youth Championship as assistant coach of New South Wales, says that the seeds of the High Performance Program were sown late last year when they helped two of their players transition to elite football in Sydney.

“We organised for Sam Shepherd to trial with Western Sydney Wanderers and for Hari Scott to trial and play pre-season with Sydney Olympic. Sam ended up signing for the Wanderers and scored goals in their victorious U20s team all season.

“If we can begin high level development and identification at an early age on the North Coast, these kinds of success stories will be a regular thing – not just one-offs.”