2002 Tournoi de Croix

Future W.A. headed to France on Monday 13th May to particpate in the prestigious Tournoi de Croix in Lille. The State Under-19 side begin their campaign at 9.15am on Saturday (18th May) when they line up against the United States national team, and later that same day complete their group stage commitments with fixture against English club Birmingham City. With the side currently overseas, we take a look at the players coach Gary Marocchi hopes will be able to do Western Australia proud in France ...

Inglewood United's Oliver TASESKI (right) is widely considered the State's best up-and-coming goalkeeper. Having spent his development years at Perth S.C. where he won State junior representative honours, Taseski moved to Inglewood where he spent a year as understudy to former Socceroo custodian Robert Zabica. After some stunning performances in the reserves, he made his first team debut late in 2000, a year which saw Taseski collect the clubs Rising Star award. The past 12-months have seen a succesful period for Taseski who was an ever-present for Inglewood and picked up the Goalkeeper of the Tournament at the Tournoi de Croix along with the Premier League's Goalkeeper of the Year. It appears that a career in the National Soccer League is only a matter of time for Taseski.

Since making his debut in State colours this time last year in France, sweeper Ivan ZUVELA has matured greatly. A product of Western Knights youth system, Zuvela spent much of last season on the fringes of first team football at club level and was singled out for praise when the Under-19's returned from their 2001 Tournoi de Croix campaign. Displaying great composure and organisation at the back, the defender proved his value to senior coach Ronnie Campbell with some impressive performances in this year's Night Series. It was during the pre-season competition that Zuvela also caught the eye of State selectors who handed him his senior State debut against South Australia a few months back.

Goalkeeper Gianni PAPALIA (left, born 19 May 1984) had the honour of celebrating his 18th birthday in France with his Future W.A. teammates. Having bided his time in the clubs reserves, Papalia got his first taste of senior football midway through last season when injury forced regular Perth S.C. custodian Robert Scarparolo out of the side, the teenager seizing the opportunity with both hands. A State Under-16 and Schoolboys representative over recent years, a place in the Under-19 squad was the next obvious progression for Papalia.

Sorrento's Daniel STOITIS (right, born 18 January 1983) is one of eight players making their second trip to France with the Under-19 squad. The former State Under-16 captain spent his junior years with Kingsway Olympic and was one of the stand-out performers for Western Australia on last years' French sojourn before being awarded the First Division's Best and Fairest trophy at season's end. Over the summer he moved into the top flight by joining Sorrento and hasn't looked back. Comfortable playing on either the right side of defence or midfield, the powerfully built Stoitis has slotted into the Seagulls side with a minimum of fuss and is expected to play a big part in the sides' quest for back-to-back Premier League titles.

Former State Under-16 captain Shaun KILKELLY (born 29 June 1984) made his senior Premier League debut last season playing at the back with Inglewood United for whom he was rarely out of the starting line-up. Having agreed to join Future Glory for their inaugural season, Kilkelly's Night Series form saw him recently handed the No.19 shirt with Perth Glory. With a great first touch and excellent distribution, the 17-year old was utilised by State coach Gary Marocchi in the centre of midfield where he turned in some sparkling performances in the lead-up to the Tournoi de Croix. Making his second trip to France with the State Under-19's, and with previous trials with numerous English clubs under his belt, Kilkelly is hotly tipped to become the next Perth youngster to step up to professional football ranks.

Many people were wondering who Admir MEHIC (left, born 16 January 1983) was when the was named in the inaugural Future Glory squad in February. A regular in the reserves at Perth S.C. last season where Mehic's talents were largely over-shadowed by his goalscoring teammates, the defender has been one of the stand-out performers for his new club so far this year. Playing on the left side of defence, the teenager rarely puts a foot wrong on the park where his calming influence is welcomed by those around him. A consistent performer for Future in the Night Series, Mehic is also more than capable of turning on the style in the middle of the park.

Big Dino DJULBIC (right, born 16 February 1983) made a speedy recovery from an ankle injury to be included in the travelling squad for this years' visit to France. Comfortable on the ball, the Perth S.C. defender is a product of his club's fertile youth system, recipient of their Development Player of the Year in 2000 and going on to represent the State at Schoolboys level last year. Having started last season in Perth's reserves and progressed to the first team by seasons' end, Djulbic's surging runs from the back are a trademark of his game.

Miki VUJACIC (born 8 December 1983) is one of seven current or former Perth S.C. players in the State Under-19 squad. A hard-working, attacking midfielder with an uncanny knack of scoring vital goals, the 18-year old has successfully made the step up to senior football with Future Glory this season after honing his skills after several seasons in Perth's youth ranks where he was captain of the Under-18 side. A natural in the centre of the park, Vujacic has really come of age under coach Frank Arok with a number of good performances in the Night Series underlining his abilities.

The Under-19's deadball expert is hard-working wing-back Scott BULLOCH (left). Skillful and with an explosive turn of pace, the left-sided midfielder's rise through the youth ranks at E.C.U. Joondalup has been swift, establishing himself in the first team last season and expected to become a regular for the side over the coming winter campaign. A former State Under-16 and Schoolboys representative, Bulloch capped his impressive debut season in the top flight by taking out the Premier League's Rookie of the Year award.

Long-recognised as one of Western Australia's best left-sided players, Todd HOWARTH (right, born 25 January 1983) quickly progressed from the Under-18 set-up at Bayswater City to establishing himself in the first team with Perth S.C. A speedy player with fantastic ball control, it's difficult to believe that Howarth is still playing locally when you consider how prominent he's been on a national scale. After winning State Schoolboys honours in 1999, Howarth played for the Australian Schoolboys against New Zealand the following year and has been part of the State set-up ever since. Over the past few years Howarth has been instrumental in Perth's successes at State league level, including their Night Series, Boral Cup and Champion of Champions treble last season. This will be his second trip to France with the State Under-19 side.

This will be the second trip to France with the State Under-19 side for David FOSTER (born 24 November 1983) who featured in every match of last years tournament and finished the trip amongst the sides leading goalscorers. A Sorrento player since the age of five, Foster progressed through the clubs youth ranks and last season became a valued member of the side which lifted the Seagull's first ever Premier League championship. His talents were noticed earlier on, leading to State junior and Schoolboys representative honours as well as English trials with Derby County and Bolton Wanderers. Foster is a versatile attacking player who usually operates as an out-and-out striker but has also been known to create goals from the left side of midfield.

Part of the E.C.U. Joondalup Under-18 side that won the Top Five play-off series last year, Mark RISTOFSKI's (left) call-up to the State side didn't come as a surprise to many. Now in his fourth year with the northern suburbs club, the 17-year old has been the recipient of Joondalup's Under-18 Players Player of the Year for the past two seasons, along with the Leading Goalscorers trophy in 2000. Comfortable whether playing in attack or anywhere across the middle of the park, Ristofski is a hard working player with great vision who has shown this year that he certainly isn't out of place at senior level.

After three years with E.C.U. Joondalup, Nick WARD (right) recently agreed to spend the 2002 season on loan to Future Glory. The 16-year old midfielder, who has represented the State at Under-15 and 16 levels in recent years, has an excellent first touch, is aggressive in the tackle and works tirelessly for his team no matter what the circumstances. Voted the Under-18 competitions' Best and Fairest player last season, Ward has the ability, and potential, to forge a senior professional career in the National Soccer League or abroad. Initially on stand-by, Ward was added to the travelling party when injury ruled Anthony Danze out of contention.

Midfielder Antonio NAGLIERI (born 20 January 1983) joined the ranks of the National Soccer League when he signed with Perth Glory in February 2001, turning down an offer to sign with English club Blackburn Rovers in the process. A creative ball-player, Naglieri shot to prominence playing for Cockburn City in 2000 when ended the winter campaign as his club's leading goal scorer, collected the Premier League's Rookie of the Year award and won a place in the State side. While opportunities in the N.S.L. have been limited, Naglieri he has featured regularly for Future Glory this season. This will be his second trip to France with the State Under-19 side.

Chilean-raised Andreas OLIVEIRA (left) exploded onto the local scene last season by scoring in each of Perth S.C.'s opening three Night Series fixtures. By season's end the pacey striker had 19 goals (in all competitions) to his credit, a haul which included two absolute gems in the Champion of Champions Final victory over Floreat Athena. A member of the Under-19 squad last year, the teenager capped a stunning debut season in the top flight by taking out the "Sunday Times"/Oceanus Player of the Year award and coming third in the Gold Medal count. In addition, Oliveira was joint recipient of his club's Fairest and Best award and was out-right winner of the Peter Giorgi Memorial Trophy. Over the summer he spent time on trial with Perth Glory and English club Bolton Wanderers before making his senior debut for the State team against South Australia earlier this year.

It's been a sensational 12-months for striker Josh KAMASZ (right, born 24 January 1986). A regular feature of the Fremantle City youth team which won the Boral Cup Final in a tense penalty shoot-out, Kamasz walked away with the Under-18 leading goalscorer trophy courtesy of a 24-goal winter haul and finished runner-up in the age groups' Fairest and Best count. A superb striker of the ball, Kamasz went on to represent Western Australia at the National Talent Identification Championships when the Under-15 side ended up in third spot. It was at this event that Kamasz came to the attention of national selectors and he was part of the Australian Under-16 squad which lifted the inaugural Oceania Football Confederation Pacific Cup early this year. Although part of the Future W.A. training squad, 16-year old Kamasz narrowly missed out on a spot in the travelling party.

Another player who was part of the Under-19 side which competed at last years event was Greg SHARLAND (born 20 January 1983). Having developed his game as a junior with Kingsway Olympic and E.C.U. Joondalup, the attacker joined Inglewood United for the 2001 local season and was an ever-present in Steve Parkinson's young side. Equally effective as an out-and-out striker or operating down the left flank, Sharland joined Wollongong Wolves last October and went on to make 13 appearances and scoring two goals on his way to taking out the club's Rookie of the Year award. A tall player with fantastic close control and the ability to evade defenders with the drop of a shoulder, Sharland recently agreed to a new two-year contract with the Wolves.

Future W.A. vs Tourcoing

Future W.A. started their France tour in style with a comfortable 5-2 victory over local side Tourcoing in mid-week. Despite enjoying the better of possession, the visitors rarely ventured into their opponents half as the second period started nervously, but as the game wore on the superior fitness and pace of the West Australian side came to the fore and they effectively control the remainder of the match. This dominance was eventually rewarded when Daniel Stiotis's ball found Miki Vujacic free down right, the flying winger's floating cross into the box where Andreas Oliveira coolly headed over the stranded Tourcoing goalkeeper. The first real attack for the home side resulted in an equaliser, an errant pass by Shaun Kilkelly being intercepted and promptly converted. The Under-19's were unlucky not to have been at least three goals up by the break with efforts by Oliveira, David Foster (right) and Ivan Zuvela all going astray. The second half saw the State side take control and score immediately after the break with Antonio Naglieri netting after fine individual effort. Some ten minutes later, and against the run of play, Tourcoing equalised after a misunderstanding between goalkeeper Oliver Taseski and Zuvela. This stirred the visitors pride who promptly scored three quick goals, Foster bagging a double and Vujacic putting the game beyond doubt. The match was a valuable warm-up for coach Garry Marocchi who gave the whole squad a run before their match against a United State of America select side on Saturday morning.

Date: 16th May 2002, 7.00pm kick-off
Line-up: Oliver Taseski, Ivan Zuvela, Admir Mehic (Dino Djulbic 55), Daniel Stoitis, Miki Vujacic (Nick Ward 60), Antonio Naglieri, Shaun Kilkelly, Scott Bulloch (Mark Ristofski 55), Todd Howarth, Andreas Oliveira (Greg Sharland 60), Greg Sharland (David Foster 25)
Subs not used: Gianni Papalia
Score: 5-2 (1-0)
Goalscorers: Foster 2, Oliviera, Naglieri, Vujacic
Cautions: None
Dismissals: None

Future W.A. vs United States of America

Future W.A. have started their Tournoi de Croix campaign in France with a solid 4-1 victory over a United States select side. The American's pressed early only to find the State Under-19 backline up to the task. The U.S. were dealt an early blow when one of their strikers was sent off for kicking defender Dino Djublic behind play, the dismissal a turning point as W.A. then controlled play and forced their opponents to attack on the counter. This dominance paid off after 15 minutes when Antonio Naglieri volleyed home from Daniel Stoitis perfect cross. The goal spurred W.A. into life and they were unlucky not to have gone into the half-time break with a greater margin after some brilliant team-work found Admir Mehic free inside the area but the big defender's shot was saved by the goalkeeper.

Early in the second half W.A. coach Gary Marocchi opted to make a tactical substitution to take advantage of his sides' extra man with striker David Foster and attacking midfielder Scott Bulloch coming on for Stiotis and Mehic. And the move paid instant dividends in the form of two quick goals. Todd Howarth stormed down the right and weaved his way into the box before drawing the 'keeper and sending a delicate ball across the face of goal for Greg Sharland (right) to tap home. Sharland was again involved in the second goal, holding the ball up then passing to the on-running Andreas Oliveira who curled his shot past the outstretched 'keeper. A defensive mistake led to the U.S. pulling a goal back, but Foster snuffed out any faint hopes they had when he slotted home after running onto Djublic's through ball. The State Under-19 side now face last years champion Birmingham City for a spot in the Final Round.

Date : 18th May 2002, 9.15am kick-off
Line-up : Oliver Taseski, Ivan Zuvela, Admir Mehic (David Foster 31), Dino Djulbic, Daniel Stoitis (Scott Bulloch 33), Miki Vujacic, Shaun Kilkelly, Antonio Naglieri, Todd Howarth, Andreas Oliveira, Greg Sharland
Subs not used: Gianni Papalia, Mark Ristofski, Nick Ward
Score: 4-1 (1-0)
Goalscorers: Naglieri, Sharland, Oliviera, Foster
Cautions: Naglieri, Djulbic
Dismissals: None

Future W.A. vs Birmingham City

Future W.A. were the victims of some dubious refereeing and pure bad luck as they lost 2-0 to Birmingham City in the second game in eight hours at the Tournoi de Croix in France. The State Under-19 side was dealt a double blow pre-match with young dynamo Andreas Oliveira deemed over age and ineligible after being a rule change by tournament organisers, and defender Daniel Stoitis succumbed to a foot injury sustained in their win over the United States. Miki Vujacic (right) dropped back into defence to replace Stoitis with Scott Bulloch going into the middle of the park. The bad luck continued for the W.A. side when Greg Sharland was unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty in the 3rd minute, Sharland cleverly lobbed Birmingham's Perth-born goalkeeper Clint Davies before being brought down by the Davies inside the area. The impressive David Foster, subbing for Oliveira, nearly gave W.A. the lead in the 6th minute but his deft header from Vujacic's cross was tipped wide by a lunging Davies. Two free-kick's towards the end of the half nearly resulted in the opening goal of the match, first Birmingham's effort hit the cross bar then Antonio Naglieri's effort down the other end found the side netting.

While neither side was able to find the target over the opening half, Birmingham bagged a scrappy goal to take the lead early in the second half after Oliver Taseski parried the initial shot and Craig Fagan lobbed home the rebound. A goal up, Birmingham opted to play safe and protect their lead making it difficult for W.A. to mount any constructive attacks and get the ball to the threatening trio of Sharland, Foster and Naglieri. Birmingham sealed victory when they scored a late goal on the break through Christophe Grondin as W.A. pushed for an equalizer. Mark Ristofski came on for Bulloch late in the half and did well to stabilize the midfield, while captain Ivan Zuvela led by example and marshaled his defence with aplomb. Despite the score line W.A. were not out-classed and more than held their own against there more experienced opponents. The State side must now wait on other results before finding out who they play next.

Date: 18th May 2002, 3.15pm kick-off
Line-up: Oliver Taseski, Ivan Zuvela, Admir Mehic, Dino Djulbic, Miki Vujacic, Antonio Naglieri, Shaun Kilkelly, Scott Bulloch (Mark Ristofski 29), Todd Howarth, David Foster, Greg Sharland
Subs not used: Gianni Papalia, Nick Ward, Daniel Stoitis
Score: (0-2 (0-0)
Goalscorers: --
Cautions: Kilkelly
Dismissals: None

Future W.A. vs Viborg F.C.

Future W.A. produced some champagne football in the second half of their match with Danish side Viborg to run out 4-1 winners and tee-up a play-off for fifth place with either Lille or Lens in the Tournai de Croix. The State Under-19 side was boosted with the return of striker Andreas Oliveira, who was cleared to play after a lengthy appeal hearing, while Daniel Stoitis also came back into the starting line-up after getting over a foot injury. Viborg drew first blood by scoring after only 3 minutes with a long-range shot which flew past goalkeeper Oliver Taseski after his backline failed to clear a loose ball. The State side wasted no time in getting over the early setback by creating plenty of scoring opportunity's for themselves. In the 5th minute Oliveira found space in midfield to cross to the far post where David Foster headed it narrowly too high. Later in the half Shaun Kilkelly found Todd Howarth down the left, his first time ball was met by Oliveira but the strikers flick went just inches wide. And in the final minute of the opening half an Antonio Naglieri free-kick cannoned of the up-right and out of play to leave the W.A. a goal down at the break.

It was a more determined W.A. outfit that emerged for the second following a stirring speech by coach Gary Marocchi. Seven minutes into the period, another great ball by Kilkelly found Howarth and the Viborg 'keeper was unable to hold his cross into the area and Naglieri was in the right place to send home the equaliser. The goal gave W.A. renewed confidence and the side began to knock the ball around with more enthusiasm. Kilkelly's flick into the box was brilliantly back headed by Foster to put the Austrlaian side in front for the first time. A weaving run down the right by Miki Vujacic took him past the Viborg defence before earning W.A. a free kick on the edge of the area, captain Ivan Zuvela (right) expertly curling the ball into the top right hand corner for their third goal with only minutes left. Combining with Foster, substitute Nick Ward flew past the Viborg defence before unselfishly setting-up Oliveira who capped off a fine team performance by tapping and making the final score 4-1. W.A. goalkeeper Oliver Taseski was singled out for praise post-match after his best game of the tournament.

Date: 20th May 2002, 8.30am kick-off
Line-up: Oliver Taseski, Ivan Zuvela, Daniel Stoitis, Dino Djulbic, Miki Vujacic (Nick Ward 45), Antonio Naglieri, Shaun Kilkelly, David Foster, Tood Howarth, Andreas Oliveira, Greg Sharland
Subs not used: Gianni Papalia, Admir Mehic, Mark Ristofski, Scott Bulloch
Score: 4-1 (0-1)
Goalscorers: Naglieri, Foster, Zuvela, Oliviera
Cautions: None
Dismissals: None

Future W.A. vs V.R.C. Lens

Future W.A. ended their Tournoi de Croix campaign in a very credible and well deserved sixth position after a courageous 3-1 loss to French side Lens that was decided from the deadball. This years' State side finished five places better then last year's team and were unlucky not to have finished even higher. The first half against Lens was a tight affair with both sides appearing nervous and not wanting to make a mistake. Seven minutes into the match and some good work from the impressive David Foster earned Future W.A. a free-kick and the first chance of the match, but Antonio Naglieiri's effort flew just over the bar. After being stunned by Future W.A.'s near miss Lens went on the attack for the next five minutes, hitting the side netting on one occasion and shooting wide from a free-kick on another. Future W.A. composed themselves to end the half with three straight corners, but they were out of luck when it came to finding the target.

The start of the second half saw Future W.A. continue the momentum they had gained towards the end of the opening period to take the game up to their more fancied opponents. Early in the half the ball was turned over in midfield by Andreas Oliveira, the young dynamo's excellent pass found Shaun Kilkelly (right) in space and his shot struck the hand of a Lens defenders for a free-kick to the State Under-19 side just outside the 19-year box. Naglieri, who had gone extremely close with previous efforts, superbly curled his kick around the Lens wall and just inside the upright to give the State side a 1-0 lead. With an upset victory in sight Future W.A. defended gallantly through captain Ivan Zuvela, Daniel Stiotis and Dino Djublic who between them withstood Lens' pressure and constant attacks. With less than ten minutes remaining, Lens were awarded a dubious free-kick on the edge of the area which flew past goalkeeper Oliver Taseski for the equaliser. Two minutes later Lens won another free-kick, this time some 25-metres from goal, the shot from one of Lens' first team players flying into the top corner past a diving Taseski to give the host club a 2-1 advantage. The win was sealed with only minutes to go through a quick break on the counter-attack as Future W.A. pushed hard for a late equaliser.

The final 3-1 scoreline should not overshadow Future W.A.'s brave performance at this years' event. As well as finishing sixth, Future W.A. were awarded trophies for being the Highest Scoring Team - nine goals scored with the best goal difference - and the Most Popular Team. Well done to the entire touring party for being excellent ambassadors of Western Australia.

Date: 20th May 2002, 3.00pm kick-off
Line-up: Oliver Taseski, Ivan Zuvela, Daniel Stoitis, Dino Djulbic, Miki Vujacic, Antonio Naglieri, Shaun Kilkelly, David Foster, Todd Howarth, Andreas Oliveira, Greg Sharland
Subs not used: Gianni Papalia, Admir Mehic, Mark Ristofski, Nick Ward,Scott Bulloch
Score: 1-3 (1-0)
Goalscorers: Naglieri
Cautions: None
Dismissals: None

Future W.A. might not have won the Tournoi de Croix in the north of France this week but they were a big improver. After finishing second last in the 12-team tournament at its first attempt last year, the State Under-19 side, coached by former Australian captain Gary Marocchi, finished sixth after losing its play-off match with French side Lens 1-3. The State team managed to leave an indelible impression on tournament organisers after its swashbuckling style brought eleven goals, earning them the best scoring record in the competition, while Naglieri (right) took out the Leading Goalscorer trophy. Perth-born Clint Davies was goalkeeper in the victorious Birmingham City team that took out the tournament for the second successive year, defeating the South African national youth team 2-0 in the Final.

"I was very happy with some good performances from the players," Marocchi said on Access 31's "The Locker Room" with Bob Figg and Mo Kaplin. "We were very proud of our boys, it was a very strong competition with about four teams from France, an America team, a South American team, Espaonl from Barcelona, Birmingham City the eventual winners, and a team from South Africa. For a Western Australian team to score nine goals in four matches in an international competition it certainly shows that the players did attack very well, especially when you consider that some of the professional French sides only scored four or five goals all up. So we were very pleased to see the boys playing a good attacking brand of soccer."

While the Under-19 performed strongly in France, Marocchi had some suggestions as to how they could improve next time. "It's great value to the players but we need to have some continuity otherwise it won't have the effect that it should have. I'd certainly like to see them go over for a little bit longer, another week before the tournament. If you take 20 players and go for another week then you could play three of four practice matches beforehand." The coach also felt that the loss of Perth Glory's Anthony Danze, to injury, and defender David Tarka, who was unavailable, had been a blow. "If Danze was fit and Tarka available I would say we would have given Birmingham a run for their money which would have allowed us to possibly play in the finals. I'd like someone to explain the reasons why a possible future Australian player like Tarka wasn't given the opportunity to play four international matches. If we did have a player like him we would have done a lot better."

Player profiles and photographs (c) Brett Klucznik (bklucznik@iprimus.com.au) 2002.
Match reports by Christian Galapolous.