Glory at forefront of league-wide young talent injection

Victory v Glory 2021 - Riley Warland on the ball

The ‘local boy done good’ narrative is as timeless as it is popular.

And it is certainly one which has been applied to Glory on a remarkably regular basis in recent times, with the club at the forefront of a wider and very welcome injection of young talent into the A-League this season.

The PGFC Academy pathway, previously trodden by the likes of Daniel de Silva and Jacob Italiano, has gone into overdrive since Richard Garcia vowed upon his appointment as the club’s Head Coach to give WA’s youngsters a chance to shine on the senior stage.

He immediately proved true to his word, promoting five players – Bryce Bafford, Nicholas Walsh, Mason Tatafu, Joshua Rawlins and Giordano Colli – from the PGFC Academy First Team which he had coached the previous season, into the club’s AFC Champions League squad.

ACL - Glory v Shanghai Shenhua -Gio Colli on the ball

Former Academy representatives Daniel Stynes and Luke Bodnar were also brought back into the fold for the trip to Doha and all went on to gain invaluable first-team experience in Asia’s preeminent club competition.

Glory v Ulsan Hyundai - Daniel Stynes celebrating

Since then, Riley Warland, who first entered the club’s Academy at the age of 10, has joined the returnees, as has Callum Timmins who originally debuted as an 18-year-old in 2017.

Timmins duly made his first start in purple in the spectacular opening-day win over Adelaide United, while Warland was similarly assured during his maiden 90-minute appearance in this week’s clash with Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.

Glory v Adelaide United 2021 - Callum Timmins challenging

With this crop of gifted WA youngsters continuing to justify his faith in them, Garcia is excited to see what the future holds.

“I have every confidence in the young players that we currently have in and around our A-League squad,” he said, “and surrounded by good experienced players, they have an environment in which to grow and improve. 

“WA has always produced talented young players and the substantial investment our owner Tony Sage has made into the PGFC Academy has allowed us to create a pathway for such players to learn their trade in a professional environment and then be given an opportunity to represent their home-state club at senior level.

“It is up to those players to take those opportunities and we have seen a number of them grasping the challenge in both the AFC Champions League and more recently, in the A-League.

“We’re seeing a lot of young Australian players impressing across the A-League this season and that can only be good for the future of the game in this country.”