‘Ones to watch’ Adam Peacock’s search for Australia’s next football star

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The PS4 Player Pathway Award is an opportunity of a lifetime
for undiscovered footballers aged 16-20 in the National Premier League.

Fox Sports football presenter Adam Peacock believes that the
competition could be the catalyst for finding Australia’s next big thing in
football.

Peacock, who is an ambassador for the growth of football, will
follow the lives of Australia’s most promising players in an eight part series
called ‘PS4 Player Pathway Ones to Watch’.

WATCH:


THE TURF spoke exclusively with Adam Peacock about his passion to follow the
stories of Australia’s most prominent young players in the NPL this year.

“This is the type of
opportunity that only comes once for some of these players. Who knows, we could
find a hidden talent that could one day be our next Tim Cahill. Look at Jai
Ingham, he is a perfect example of the type of talent that can be scouted at
grassroots and NPL level”.

The competition will add an extra bit of spice to the NPL,
as 24 of Australia’s brightest footballers will be given the chance to compete
for a two week trial with Sydney FC’s youth team.

35 players from several PS4 NPL competitions around the
country have been snapped up and given professional A-League contracts this
season. It’s a reason why Peacock is so passionate about helping to get these
players’ faces on the map.

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“There is no better
place to capture this spirit than on the regional football pitches around
Australia. The PS4 Player Pathway initiative is exactly what grass-roots football deserves to ensure no talent slips under the radar.” 


Top players from rural and less scouted areas have a great chance of finally being noticed and given the chance to take their career to the next level. Peacock is determined to explore Australia for some of these undiscovered hidden gems. 

“I am really looking
forward to following the PS4 NPL talent as part of the Ones to Watch series
because football is about more than just a sport – it’s about the players’
stories, the communities, the determination and the passion for our beautiful
game,” said Peacock.


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Hume City- FFA Cup Semi-Finalists in 2015- Source: FFA Cup 

There’s no denying the power the FFA Cup has had for
football on a national level. We have seen some of the greatest upsets from NPL
sides against teams in Australia’s highest tier of football. Jai Ingham’s
amazing rise from Hume City to first team football at Melbourne Victory demonstrates
the quality and importance that the NPL brings to Australian football.

It’s a sign that the gap between the NPL and A-League is
constantly shrinking each season. Even the FFA CEO David Gallop is starting to change
his thought process, that promotion and relegation is a true possibility.

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“The PS4 Player
Pathway Award is yet another significant step in connecting the second tier and
the Hyundai A-League as it unearths the stars of the future and further
identifies talent from across the NPL,” said Gallop.

“The level of the PS4
NPL continues to improve each year and it is through this increasingly
impressive standard that players are getting noticed and given an opportunity
to realise their dream of becoming professional footballers.”


Despite the fact that Sydney FC are the only A-League team directly
involved in the competition, other A-League teams are set to reap the benefits.

The competition is essentially a cost-free scouting avenue
for the A-League and other national teams. Peacock explained that it would not
only benefit the winner, but will provide the runners up with a world of
exposure.  

“The PS4 NPL is widely recognised as the engine room for the future of
professional league football in Australia. By introducing the PS4 Player
Pathway Award we are offering another opportunity for players who have missed
selection through traditional routes to follow their dreams into the A-League.”  

By Ari Charilaou (He’s also on twitter here) 

Ari Charilaou