In just their second season in the Football Federation Victoria State League 5 competition, the Moonee Valley Knights Reserves will prove an interesting mix of youth and experience.
Under the guidance of Knights' stalwart and coach extraordinaire Amir Awad, the Knights' second-string team will prove a fantastic testing ground for a number of junior players looking to take the next steps in their footballing careers.
Amir coached a number of the incoming Reserves players as juniors, some from as young as the age of 11 and just like his young stars, he is looking forward to testing himself and his team in senior competition.
"We're looking to bring seven or eight kids who have played juniors at the club since we restarted the juniors back in 2013 along into the reserves squad this season, so we're going to have a really nice mix of youth and experience," Amir said.
With the club having moved their senior teams out of the VicSoccer competition and into the FFV's more highly recognised state league structure for the first time in 2017, one of the club's stated aims was to give its current crop of juniors something to aspire to within the club, without having to leave to find state league football at another club.
That move will already pay dividends in 2018 and Amir said it was an exciting development for the club to be in a position to push its junior players into the senior team.
"Since we started the juniors we've had a couple of players approached by other clubs to go and play with them, but it's nice for us to have a team where these kids can aspire to play for without having to leave the Knights," Amir said.
"Last season we had the chance to push a few players up into the reserve from the under-15 team which was a great result and I'm looking forward to working with them again this season."
Two of the club's most promising players, Djavan "DJ" Oseguda and Kibrom Belay both tasted reserve football last season and Amir said it was pleasing to see the duo – amongst others – stick with the Knights in light of interest from other clubs.
"Kibrom was the top scorer in our team last season and he played a few games for the reserves as well, and he's a kid who has been taking public transport just to get to training from a young age," Amir explained.
"It's so pleasing to see these kids stay loyal to the club."
With an influx of senior players expected to the club following the appointment of experienced senior coach Anthony Sacco, Amir said the club looked to be in a great place ahead of 2018.
"We feel like we've been working towards 2018 for the last 20 years," Amir said.
"With the new club rooms and the new facilities at the club, the appointment of Anthony and the growth of the club, it's a very positive place to be at right now."