Taiwanese Players Find New Heights With Nerang Eagles

PHOTOS: Last week the club said farewell to a squad of 17 junior players from the LS Soccer Club in Taipei who relished the chance to train alongside some of the Nerang’s top junior players and academy coaches during their week-long tour of the city – basing their football operations out of Nerang Soccer Club.

The Taiwanese academy club chose Nerang after an extensive search for suitable locations to bring their brightest young players, brokering a partnership for the tour which gave an opportunity for coaches and players from both clubs to learn from each other.

Upon arrival the visiting team wasted no time, skipping the hotel check-in to immediately hit the grounds at Glennon Park for a training session and throughout their week-long stay the participated in an exchange of football skills, culture and friendship with some of Nerang’s and the Academy of Football Australia’s top coaches and players.

Jenny Li and Kyal Sorensen challenge for the ball ahead of their friendly matches.

During the friendly training games held on Wednesday evening, the Taiwanese players showcased their own style of intelligent play and skills, pushing two specially selected Nerang representative squads to step up their own performance in the U12 and U10 age groups.

In what was a close match up – Nerang narrowly won the U12 game however fell short with a two-goal loss to the Taiwanese visitors in the U10 match – a gallant effort from the younger Nerang squad consisting of various U8, U9 and U10 players rising to the challenge.

LS Soccer head coach, Eva Chen, said that the depth of infrastructure and talent at Nerang was impressive and provided the perfect environment for her teams to experience Australian soccer style and culture.

“It’s impressive to see such a club like Nerang, which is a more complete club than ours with a range of facilities, coaching expertise and excellent players … it’s a perfect place for us.” said Chen after several sessions at the Eagles.

“We have been really enjoying our time here, the weather is great and the people on the Gold Coast have been very welcoming.

Building relationships and partnerships is essential to developing the game locally. Jenny Li, Blake Gaarsted, Jasper Chung and Kyal Sorensen from LS Soccer and Nerang Soccer Clubs.

The LS Soccer team also experienced a technical training session under the expert instruction of Academy of Football Australia coach Jonathon Pritchard, who put the Taiwanese players through a series of specialised drills used by the Academy when developing players for potential career pathways.

“The standard from Jonathon was very professional, and he was very quick to pick up on the fine points when instructing our players whether it was their body motion or shape … the coaching standard at Nerang is very high.

“We are very much willing to come back as this has already been a great experience for us.”

Academy of Football Australia and Nerang JPL coach Jonathon Pritchard testing the LS Soccer players with tempo and skill challenges.

Academy of Football Coach Fernando Victor, who instructs Brazilian football styles at Nerang, was equally impressed with the standard of play from the visiting LS Soccer teams after watching the games on Wednesday night.

“I was expecting a team that was probably more of a beginner team but they play really fast and they are an intelligent squad with great passing and combinations of play … it was nice football, really good football to watch,” said Victor.

Head to head with Nerang’s Blake Gaarsted and LS Soccer’s Jasper Chung – matching each other strength for strength in the world game at Nerang Soccer Club.

Nerang Soccer Club Assistant Junior Coordinator, Luke Sorensen, says that the club has been going from strength to strength in the way it is approaching relationships and partnerships to bring about more diversity and opportunity at the club.

“When Nerang was offered chance to work with this international squad we saw the opportunity to build another football bridge, something that’s been at the forefront of our approach in recent years,” said Sorensen.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s the big international partnerships like that which we have with Celtic FC or our working relationship with the Academy of Football Australia, having a club like LS Soccer come here is all about building more of those relationships and opening up new opportunities for Gold Coast kids to get more out of the game.

“Inviting international clubs and coaches here to the Gold Coast to play and train only strengthens the sport locally and also helps us understand the sport from a wider viewpoint.”

Sorensen says there’s even more in the pipeline for Nerang, with talks currently underway to secure international training camps featuring some of the English Premier League’s greatest former players and legends.

“We can’t say too much but plans are being shaped right now to build even more of those football bridges and part of that is bringing legends of the game out to teach and inspire our of next generation of champions … it’s an exciting time for coaches and for kids to be playing football here on the Gold Coast.”

The LS Soccer team finished their journey with an all out Sunday session of training and fun games, which culminated with their first game of cricket, a boomerang throwing session and an old-fashioned Australian sausage sizzle.

During their stay they also soaked up some of the best parts of the region including visiting our theme parks and a trip to Tangalooma Resort to see the wild dolphins as part of their 2019 Gold Coast tour.

Nerang Soccer Club thanks the LS Soccer parents, coach and team for visiting and we hope they had an amazing time on the Gold Coast and at the Eagles!

Special thanks goes out to all the coaches from Nerang and the AFA who helped out and all the parents and officials at Nerang Soccer Club for helping get behind this with their time and effort – a great experience for all involved.

We look forward to seeing the LS club again and perhaps one day even sending some of our own Minis over to visit them.