Port Lincoln Soccer Association is helping its young players upgrade their skills take the next step through its Youth Development Squad.
The association held a training and presentation day at Kirton Point Oval on Sunday with the nearly 40 squad members receiving their guernseys and shorts following a training session.
Squad founder and coach Mark Panizzolo said through the squad the players would develop their skills and an understanding of how to reach the next level, and play effectively as a team.
"Kids are in the short term identified that have the potential to advance their skills to the next level and develop their knowledge of the game to achieve an understanding on how to play the game well," he said.
Mr Panizzolo said the squad started in January 2020 with a core group of about 40 young players, boys and girls, but COVID-19 forced training to stop before the chance arose to continue again in September.
He said the young players got the chance to showcase their skills at an under 16 event at Hahndorf at the end of 2020, despite an average age of 11.93 years the players exceeded expectations and gained respect.
"We realised we we're on the right path with what we're doing, their performance was above and beyond what our expectations were," he said.
Mr Panizzolo said players would be invited into the squad so they could continue their path to a higher standard of soccer and learn the training, discipline and commitment required.
He said it was also about developing the players into role models, taking the skills they learn on the pitch and applying them into real life.
Association president Richard Hennell said the Youth Development Squad would bring great benefits to growing the reputation of soccer in Port Lincoln.
"It all about growing and promoting soccer, not just in participation numbers but in the standard of soccer," he said.
"We see that filtering into the association as a whole."
The association has thanked major sponsors AFE and Coates Lawyers, and other sponsors Port Lincoln 4WD, Port Lincoln Hotel, Bunnings Port Lincoln, Port Lincoln Boat Supplies, Pizzeria Trieste, Betta Electrical, Paul Williams Goldsmith, Coast and Country Furniture, Mitre 10 Port Lincoln, Boston Bay Smallgoods and Port Lincoln Bakery.
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